Review: Jack Foley
HAVING made the leap from underground cult heroes to Gold-selling
record-sellers in the space of one album, Welsh rockers, Funeral
For A Friend, get a little bit darker with their second long-player,
Taking in issues as emotive as domestic abuse and the death of
friends, Hours is designed as an emotional rollercoaster
that contains as many highs as it does lows.
Fans of cross-breed hardcore punk and nu-wave metal are therefore
likely to find themselves in seventh heaven, as Funeral For A
Friend develop a sound that's more distinctly American than Welsh,
placing them in the same arena as acts like Linkin Park (whom
they recently supported).
Some of it is very heavy, incorporating the death-metal howling
of drummer, Ryan Richards, but some of it is equally tender, allowing
Matt Davies' far more emotive vocals to take centre-stage.
Throughout, the guitars are lively, creating several walls of
sound, and veering from Californian rock-inspired melodies, to
bone-crunching blasts of pure metal.
At its best, Hours demonstrates a keen ability to flirt
with both the hardcore and the mainstream, creating a sound that's
distinctly hard-hitting without alienating too much of the record-buying
Lead single, Streetcar, is a classic case in point,
a mighty anthem that's certain to go down a storm in stadiums,
featuring rolling guitars and a genuinely catchy chorus.
It is quickly followed by the emotion-packed Roses For The
Dead, a blistering power anthem of angry torment and eternal
regret over the death of friends that's been dedicated to the
memory of Lianne Davies and Lloyd Bird.
It kicks off with the lyrics 'just to say we're sorry for the
black eyes and bleeding lips, and it's hard to forget how many
lies we told'.
Similarly emotive is the crunching slab of goth-rock that is
The End of Nothing, a track that confronts domestic violence head-on
and rates among the heaviest on the album.
Davies' strained vocals are offset by Richards' wailing, featuring
lyrics such as 'killing you might be the only chance I have of
recovery' and 'the punishment if fits the crime, so let's take
this knife and run it down your chest'.
Throughout most of the album, in fact, death, bloodshed, anger
and torment are recurrent themes.
Even on the more tender moments, such as the inspiring ballad,
History, there is a strange fascination with the dark
side of life, featuring lyrics such as 'Romeo is bleeding to death,
to see a friend bleed to death what for, some kind of metaphor
that I can't see?'
It might be a depressing listen but for the quality of some of
Another highlight, Drive, is similarly sombre in tone,
featuring a troubled relationship. It's sure to bring out the
cigarette lighters in live form but tells a fascinating story
that's distinctly anti-happy endings.
Ironic, then, that the album itself will probably deliver Funeral
For A Friend a happy conclusion of its own - furthering their
reputation as a major new force on the rock circuit and demonstrating
an emotional intensity that isn't always apparent in music of
It's undoubtedly an album for those who like their music heavy,
but it's certain to win them even more friends.