Band: Funeral for a Friend
Released: January 2013
Label: Distiller Records
Producer: Romesh Dodangoda
Many changes have occurred in the Funeral for a Friend camp since the release of the band’s superb debut album ‘Casually Dressed…’ 10 years ago. With only two members remaining from the 2003 line-up, it’s little wonder that the music on conduit is a far cry from the sound that got me hooked on this band a decade ago. While Kris’ guitar riffs still sound huge and powerful, Matt’s vocals have degraded over the years to such an extent that we now hear more of a breathy shout than the soaring melodies of old.
Changes in personnel often result in a change of direction, and Conduit is no exception. Funeral for a Friend have mixed the fresh enthusiasm of a whole new rhythm section (including rhythm guitar) with Matt’s now limited vocal range, to produce an album of fast, heavy and thrashy songs that each clock in under 3 minutes. It’s good to hear the band returning to heavier music and the songs certainly have a lively feel to them, as though th the band feel liberated with their new direction. For the most part, the songs are enjoyable, but since they’re focused on quick, thrash-along tracks, there isn’t much substance to the compositions. Most songs start with a simple riff or idea, then once the song gets going, it powers on through without much deviation from the central idea.
‘Best Friends and Hospital Beds’ is the stand-out track on the album, as it blends the revised, heavy elements with an infectious chorus that tips its hat to Hours-era Funeral for a Friend. Moreover, this is the track that Matt performs best on, which leads me to believe that the reason the album seems lacking in substance is because the vocals on the other tracks just aren’t very interesting.
When seeing the band live recently, I remarked at how much Matt was struggling to sing the old songs, so it’s hard to say how much he has left in the tank for future records. Based on the lack of staying-power that Conduit offers, I’m not sure how much I’ve got left for the band either.