Wolves are always, let’s be honest, gonna be cool. I mean sure, it was de rigor a while ago to have a wolf in your band name – but that could only go so far before that got old. But it wasn’t wolves per se that got passe. No sir.
Funeral Party – arguably one of the most exciting rock four-pieces to come off the US West Coast, in at least, I dunno, months, understand that. You know, about wolves. So they put a drawing of one on the actual CD of their debut album. They also open the album with the equally ferocious and cool New York City Moves To The Sound of LA – a clarion call; a veritable statement of intent of a song; it is, with very little doubt the bands anthem; it’s like the Rapture on amphetamines and alcohol. It makes you you dance and smacks you in the face. Simultaneously.
But, don’t jump to any conclusion that Funeral Party are the latest flash in the pan with a wolf involved. They’ve been together since 2004 cutting their teeth in yard parties and the like in what they describe as the “same shitty town” of Whittier in California where “you have two choices: grow up and get a job or get out”. A chance meeting with Lars Stalfors, they were invited to record at Mar Volta’s studios. Initially they got signed to Fearless Records, a subsidiary of Warners, who only seemed to understood the term pop-punk as sounding like Blink 182, according to the band, “So we tried our hardest to get thrown off the label, and Sony was already knocking on our door.” the band have said.
After the opening track, things continue along a similar path as the lead single; angular-type guitars, disco-type beats and Chads plaintiff-type vocals, with Car Wars and Finale. Where Did It Go Wrong takes a more classic indie-pop Smiths-esque turning. Second single Just Because, frankly ambles along in some sort of Strokes-trying-to-be-exciting-and-not-really-doing-it kind of way and is over before you really notice or care. But it’s followed by the linchpin Postards of Persuasion – a darker, more sombre and atmospheric ode to betrayal. At the Drive In’s influence is strong in Giant which has a mentally awesome instrumental break near the middle. City in Silhouettes is both atmospheric and post-punk-dancey – it’s the audio equivalent to a particularly good episode of Skins. Relics to Ruins is 5.30 in the morning, the party is over, but you are still staggering amongst the passed out bodies strewn around your house and back yard in some sort of post-apocolyptic haze, while closer, and title track opens, perfectly, with bird song; truly signaling that this is not the end, but the start of a new beginning. Funeral Party are clear that you have not heard the last of them yet; “It’s a feeling I can never stop” they assure as with their last breath. - review by Andrew Tidball