Follow Us on Twitter

Funeral For A Friend - Memory And Humanity

Funeral For A Friend, Memory and Humanity

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

FUNERAL For A Friend’s fourth album Memory And Humanity is all about despair, it would seem. Despair at the state of the world and – ultimately – despair in the listener.

Die-hard followers of the Welsh outfit will doubtless proclaim it to be another masterpiece, but in truth this is a desperately mundane offering. Mostly intent on skyscraping guitar riffs and choruses, it’s a little too one-note in delivery, and certainly quite depressed.

On You Can’t See The Forest For The Wolves, for instance, Matthew Davies’ pained vocals scream out “give me something to believe in”, while the guitars wail and drums crash around him, and even on quieter moments, such as album highlight Building, he’s equally despairing, talking about waiting for a God who “never comes around”.

Ironically, Memory And Humanity may have fared better by mixing the rough with the smooth a little more often. Some of the best – and biggest – bands have excelled by neatly balancing both, so that their music appeals beyond a hard rock reach. Foo Fighters, for instance, even put out a double album once, comprised of one half rock, the other half acoustic. They even split their US tour into two. And throughout their career, they’ve delivered good, grounded, radio-friendly crossovers as well as the speaker-exploders.

Linkin Park, too, have a keen knack for mixing moments of heart-thumping heaviness with electronica-backed reflection.

But Funeral For A Friend are mostly intent to go for broke in almost every song they write. Some of their guitar work is good, such as To Die Like Mouchette, which has a rollicking central riff, or the biting Someday The Fire…, which somehow feels less pretentious than other, weightier efforts.

But they’re few and far between, as the formula is pretty rigid. Tracks like Rules And Games, Kicking And Screaming and Waterfront Dance Club have the habit of sounding the same, and therefore consigning the album to a desperate inevitability.

Hence, as rock efforts go Memory And Humanity is just about average. Standouts include the aforementioned likes of Building and Someday The Fire…, as well as the mid-tempo Charlie Don’t Surf, which seems to take the best elements of Foo Fighters and the California alt-rock scene to deliver a genuinely appealing number. Final track Constant Resurrections, meanwhile, benefits from a slow-build approach and some nice vocal diversity from Davies.

But such moments only serve to show that Funeral For A Friend are capable of so much more, if only they really put their minds to it. A missed opportunity, then…

Download picks: Building, Someday The Fire…, To Die Like Mouchette, Charlie Don’t Surf, Constant Resurrections

Track listing:

  1. Rules And Games
  2. To Die Like Mouchette
  3. Kicking And Screaming
  4. Constant Illuminations
  5. Maybe I Am
  6. You Can’t See The Forest For The Wolves
  7. Building
  8. Beaneath The Burning Tree
  9. Someday The Fire
  10. Waterfront Dance Club
  11. Charlie Don’t Surf
  12. Ghosts
  13. Constant Resurrections

  1. Harsh, man, harsh. Funeral For A Friend havne’t been winning awards and acclaim for nothing. Perhaps you’re not the best one to judge. They get better with each album and this has some quiet moments to offset the rock – which is what they’re about after all!

    James    Oct 17    #
  2. This article really sums it up! I agree totally. As a militant FFAF fan I bought the album and was disappointed by its, well, mundanity. The track selection isn’t that well balanced, with a lot of slower dreary songs and only a couple of remotely progressive less pretentiious ones. Def a missed opportunity – we’ll see if they can redeem themselves Thursday night…

    LemonGrove    Oct 28    #