Top critical review
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Difficult 2nd album?
on 3 June 2005
It would appear so. The Amazon review for this album couldn't be more spot-on. The first thing you notice with Hours is that, well, it feels more mellow. It is no longer emo-hardcore, it just sounds like emo. A minor difference? Well not for this reviewer. Hardcore encompasses the phenomenal likes of Refused. Emo includes the likes of Brand New. So what am I trying to say? That the biggest feeling I get from this album is one of disappointment.
Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation was utterly fantastic. The perfect balance between hard riffs and controlled screaming married with an ear for a tune and soaring chorus', it burrowed its way into your head before you could do anything about it. It was an album of such promise, the only way was up for the young upstarts from Wales. The intensity was present in their live shows more than anything, a veritable whirlwind of excitement on stage.
And it is live where I hope Hours will truly come alive. Because on record, it just seems a little subdued. This may well be to alot of peoples tastes - easier on the ear, many may get more enjoyment from this LP. But not me.
First single Streetcar is a fine song, due to the fact it could sit on their debut easily. Likewise, opener All The Rage is a wonderful opening gambit, full to the brim with classic melodies and a speed that instills an adrenaline rush inside you. Track 3, Roses For The Dead is similar. Too similar. Which is part of the albums problem. A good chunk of it is just a little too samey. True, the 1st album also suffered from this a little, but one would expect the creases to have been ironed out by now, such was their promise.
End Of Nothing, however, almost sounds like an impoverished child of death metal, such is the speed and cheese of it's opening guitar. But as it gathers pace, it improves immeasurably. Thankfully! Monsters is a highlight, as is Alvarez. One area FFAF have moved on is lyrically though. As the site review states, some deep issues are covered, and adds a depth that perhaps the music alone does not. Album closer Sonny is significantly slower than most output by the band, but a blinder of a tune. As it fades out, it gives you the impetus to listen to the album again, to uncover secrets that may be unearthed after repeated listening.
So far then, it seems like a fairly damning review - overly critical, the views of a hardcore zealot. "Why 3 stars then you tool" I hear you cry. Well, it's because......this is still a Funeral For A Friend album. And as disappointed as I am, the quality of the music is still head and shoulders above most other bands of the moment. In a time when we Brits have so much to gloat about over our Yank brethren music-wise, it only helps the UK music industry's cause to have an album like Hours in it's cannon.
And no doubt it will have alot more sales than it's predecessor. But somewhere, like me, there will be people sitting wondering when album #3 is due, and when FFAF will make good on their initial promise and become the band to define a (teen) generation. Like Finch and Hell Is For Heroes, they have produced an at times sparkling, at times bombastic, but ultimately slightly disappointing 2nd album. With all three, it provides them with a learning experience. Hopefully all will fulfill expectation next time around - particularly the Welsh lads.
Now I'm off to listen to Nine Black Alps & Royksopps new offering :-)