Funeral Party The Golden Age of Knowhere Review

Album. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

Remember, you can't spell Funeral Party without “fun” or “party”.

Iain Moffatt 2011

2011, as you'll doubtless have heard from many a quarter, is pencilled in as the year when guitars resume their twang chart-wards and small children start picking up tennis rackets again when they're playing at being pop stars. All well and good, but, given that the pop bar's been raised sufficiently high in recent times courtesy of tracks like Telephone, Pass Out and Katy on a Mission, where on earth is this resurgence going to come from? Frankly, the odds on it emanating from the Beady Eyes of the world are unspectacular.

Thankfully, though, there are other options – of which Funeral Party are a fine for-instance. In fairness, there's not a whole lot of wheel reinventing happening here, but that seems like a trifling query in the face of all the reckless careering (a far better option than rockless careerism, we're sure you'd agree) and chirpy cherry-picking of the counter-culture's most sky-punching manoeuvres through the ages that's going on instead. Last summer’s New York City Moves to the Sound of LA single boded fantastically, charging in with all the fiery fury of the Big Apple's most golden and, well, delicious scene-crashers of the early 00s. But, even fantasticallier, it's one of any number of rapturous master strokes up their dapper sleeves.

It helps that Chad Elliott's vocals are often pitched at a hormonal holler throughout; but his is anything but a one-note performance, even stretching to a practically Chrissie Hynde croon on the strangely lovely, if still somewhat excitable, Relics to Ruins, while Kimo Hauhola's bass is remarkably light on its feet throughout, traipsing nimbly en pointe towards the dancefloor with a choppy funk panache that finds energetic echoes in the sprung metronomy of Neil Gonzales' drums and considerable breakneck balance in the heavy-lifting-but-lighthearted oversized puppy rifferama supplied by James Torres. And those songs! Finale (placed a good half-hour before the end) recalls The Wedding Present at their most intense if they were a West Side Story street gang, Giant Song (the shortest track of all – you see what they're doing here?) is a compact alt-pop cyclone that buffets and blinds with unexpected spikes, while Youth & Poverty is just outright gorgeous, all Made Of Stone jangles and languorous angles.

And, best of all, they've not only remembered that you can't spell Funeral Party without "fun", or indeed "party", but they've also striven to make their soiree as all-are-welcome as possible. If the latest serving of salad days for indie has to start somewhere, it could do a whole lot worse than here.

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