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Funeral for a Friend - 'Rules and Games'

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Vicki Vicki | 14:33 UK time, Saturday, 21 March 2009

Funeral For A FriendThe other day, I came across a review I did of Funeral For A Friend when I was about 16. At the time, I loved them, in a kind of getting-sweaty-at-a-gig-with-all-my-mates, singing-along-at-the-top-of-our-lungs way. In fact, at this specific gig, I distinctly remember how late it over-ran and how I completely missed the last bus home, but I was having fun; I didn't care (although my mum did, when I woke her up at 1am asking for a lift home).

Reading back through my review though, I realised that even then I kind of saw through them. They were one of my guilty pleasures, because although they had everything I wanted - they were loud, there was screaming and they certainly were terr-RIFF-ic - really, they were just a bit too clean cut, too try-hard and too lacking in any real sense of rawness for my liking.

Now, what's funny about this is that, in reviewing their very latest single, I can pretty much say exactly the same thing I said all those years ago. Tempting although it is to cut and paste that review, I'll refrain because a) it is written terribly (who knew you could spell 'funeral' in so many different ways?) and b) the paragraph on the vast amount of fit guys in the audience might not be entirely relevant now.

But the point remains, 'Rules and Games' sounds likes something the band could have released five years ago, although there are very good reasons for this.

(Here's the video. Where's Tom Hanks dancing on a giant piano?)

'Rules and Games' is Funeral for a Friend's third single off their self-released album, 'Memory and Humanity', and sees the band returning to their earlier sound with big riffs, big melodies and big choruses; it's certainly got that driven, anthemic feel from the first album. This is no bad thing; something you'll know if you've heard any of their more recent, more commercially-designed singles.

Matthew Davies has always been the band's magic ingredient, and his sweeping vocals weave together the different strands of the song. OK, so the melody itself isn't particularly memorable, but Funeral for a Friend have always been more of an in-the-moment type band and this song wants you to have that moment, in as wild a manner as you can manage.

The problem with the song though, is exactly what I felt when I was 16. It just sounds a little bit forced, a little bit try-hard and a little bit over-produced. It's great in a nostalgic way, in a way that reminds me of summer road trips and big music festivals, but really, this song doesn't really feel current and it doesn't see the band moving on at all.

'Rules and Games' will appeal to the dedicated, hardcore fans and will prompt those of us who quite liked them to dig out their first album and relive our FFAF moment again. But other than that? Well, let's just say, this song ain't really worth missing the last bus home for.

Three starsDownload: Out now
CD Released:March 23rd

(Vicki Lutas)


  • Comment number 1.

    I'm not sure I'd have minded the paragraph about all the fit guys. A girl after my own heart. Let's be honest, one of the main reasons for going out is keeping an eye out for good looking men. My friend calls it "looking for talent".


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