Funeral For A Friend may share their name with an Elton John, ahem, “classic”, but their music bears about as much resemblance to that of his tantrum-ness as Tarantino does to Walt Disney.
In fact, with its twists and turns, explosive action and unconventional refrains, this debut album is not unlike a Tarantino film, though thankfully more Pulp Fiction than Jackie Brown.
If the hype generated by certain publications is to be believed (guilty as charged, m’lord), then Casually Dressed… is about to make these Welshmen the biggest rock band hailing from the British Isles. And when we say “rock”, we mean “RAWK!”, not some watered-down mush that Mondeo Man can play on his Stereo(phonics) and so deceive himself into thinking that he’s “into” music.
Casually Dressed… is everything that debut albums so often aren’t: assured and quietly confident but not swaggering; expertly walking the tightrope between the chasms of unashamed commercialism and artistic integrity; and where every song has been thought through and well-executed.
With tracks such as Rookie Of The Year, Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings and Moments Forever Faded, Funeral For A Friend flip between pop-punk to full-throated metal in the bat of an eyelid, but with the emphasis firmly on melody and choruses that drip, drip, drip into your consciousness and then refuse to flow away again.
The likes of Escape Artists Never Die and Novella showcase the fact that this is a band who have way more than three chords and a handful of standard heavy metal riffs in their armoury. Instead, the guitar patterns are complex and intricate while the songs change time signatures and dance from metallic bluster to acoustic breaks.
Of course, such ambition would end up as mere meandering without an accomplished vocalist who was equally adept at death metal roars and angelic singing. In Matt Davies, this band has unearthed a gem, and if in any doubt that this is the case, skip to Your Revolution Is A Joke and witness an exposed but beautiful vocal, accompanied only by acoustic guitars and strings, that would have many of the shysters who clog up the pop charts running away in shame.
In She Drove Me To Daytime Television, Matt Davies goads his victim to, “Put your focus where your mouth is.” Funeral For A Friend have practised what they preach with an album that mixes aggression and melody, played with purpose and sensitivity. So go on then, what are you waiting for?