Welsh rockers prove that they're worthy of the hype: 'An astounding and bold debut'.
Jack Smith 2003
Few bands, let alone ones from Bridgend in Wales, have generated such expectation with their debut album. Funeral For A Friend, however, have effortlessly garnered unprecedented acclaim from all quarters for the handful of releases that bear their name.
And so the question is poised - does their debut album prove worthy of the hype? Well, the answer is a resounding yes! Opening with "Rookie Of The Year" - all guns blazing, crunching riffs and sideways lyrical introspection - there are fewer, better ways to kick-off your album career.
Former single "Bullet Theory", surely their most auspicious offering to date, really gets the foundations rocking. Riotous, cascading riffs see Matthew Davies morphing from floppy-fringed kid in the corner to guttural rock menace. Very stadium, very cool.
The excellent "Juneau" affirms the heaped reverence some more - sing along and smash along in equal spades. "Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings" swoops into more mellow territory, whilst still managing to clatter along with FFAF's fairly unique take on pop-metal.
Cynics will see Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation as a thinly veiled, token alternative gesture in a greasy and over crowded marketplace. FFAF, however, have more than a few aces up their sleeves to dispel this. "Escape Artists Never Die" is sublime - emotional, laden with riffs and spunky metallic endeavour, while "She Drove Me To Daytime Television" offers the ideal hybrid of calculated noise and stomp along choruses.
When ditching the rock for acoustic reflection, caution could be advised, as the strings accompying "Your Revolution Is A Joke" seem awkward amid the overall fury. This is soon rectified with the slow burning cacophony of "Waking Up Inside My Own Paralysis" and the chaotic mentalism of the closing "Novella" amply eclipse any weaknesses.
Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation is worth anyone's while, and will be remembered as an astounding and bold debut. Own this album and steal your little brothers' friends for listening buddies.
Review courtesy of BBC Wales Music