Funeral For A Friend

Memory And Humanity

Written by: TL on 11/11/2008 00:07:13

When Funeral For A Friend helped 2nd generation emo explode back in the early days of the new millennium with their excellent EPs and debut album "Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation", it might have seemed an unlikely future for the fans that the band would proceed to write two following albums worthy of a maximum Rockfreaks-grade of 7½ (which I maintain, even if former scribe KS awarded "Hours" a full 8 back in the day). Distancing themselves continuously from their more direct and aggressive roots, the band's career seemed to 'culminate' last year, with the major label release of the ambitious concept album "Tales Don't Tell Themselves", an album that, despite its share of good songs and its prophesized status as a career-climax, emerged to the sound of lukewarm reviews by critics and fans alike.

A good deal of controversy later, FAFF have now split from big, bad and bossy Atlantic Records, establishing themselves on their own label Join Us, and releasing their fourth full length "Memory And Humanity" completely on their own terms, an album that the band promised would contain all the content Atlantic allegedly banned from its predecessor for being 'too intellectual', as well as a comeback to some of the harder and more screamy elements of the bands golden past.

The truth is though, that "Memory And Humanity" is a hit and miss effort even at best, where the band seems to have traded in major label pressure for a slightly lazy attitude towards composition. The songs seem to have been left in a very straight forward form, without all the small tricks, dynamics and variations in arrangement, that major label producers otherwise use so cleverly to lasso ones attention, and overall, the album is more reminiscent of the very homogenous "Hours" than the brilliant "Casually Dressed..". There's plenty of good riffage and thoughtful lyricism to go around for everyone, and while you have "Memory And Humanity" on, it's easily a good listen, however, when the dust settles, few things other than the refrains of opener "Rules And Games" and "Waterfront Danceclub" really leave a lasting impression. The vast majority of the other songs sound too much alike, and even after a multitude of listens (I am an old fan after all), only "Maybe I Am?" really stirs any kind of recognition.. Okay and maybe "Kicking And Screaming" and "Building", the latter of which is a welcome mellow take on the FFAF sound where Matt Davies gets to showcase the subtleties of his more quiet vocalwork, effectively making the band sound almost like The Frames, if only for the duration of the song.

The track puts into clear contrast the singers otherwise almost constantly strained delivery, which, just like everything else, simply isn't varied quite enough to distinctly set it apart anywhere. And about the screaming, sure there's some here and there, but it's of the kind that's too integrated and polished to really strike you the way screaming should.

Overall though, it's hard to say that any of the songs on "Memory And Humanity" are really bad, as you're bound to recognise most of them when you see their titles, or hear them played randomly. It's just that too few of them are truly of the kind you're bound to carry around with you, the way that even "Tales.." managed to make you do with "Into Oblivion". As a result, FFAF are going to have to work on realising the full potential of their next batch of songs, if they want to really impress me more than they've done the last couple of times.

Download: Rules And Games, Waterfront Danceclub, Maybe I Am?
For The Fans Of: Anberlin, Fightstar, Biffy Clyro
Listen: myspace.com/funeralforafriend

Release Date 28.10.2008
Join Us / Victory Records

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