Thursday, 21 June 2012

REVIEW: Funeral Suits - 'Lily Of The Valley'

Irish four piece Funeral Suits have been active since 2009 and following a string of well received singles they release their debut album 'Lily Of The Valley'. Their sound and characteristics often bring to mind a range of other groups but not once does any of it sound like imitation or bandwagon-jumping. Legendary producer Stephen Street does a fantastic job with the sound and texture of this record, bringing the best out of the band's high power arrangements.

A good example is the opening 'Mary's Revenge' packed full of striking synths, feedback and dark atmospherics, before the vibrant 'Colour Fade' arrives with its steady beat, seductive guitar hooks and an infectious tune that provides an album highlight. At times intricate guitar parts lock into one another, in a way similar to Foals perhaps, another group which the vocal style sometimes recalls, like on the enjoyably schizophrenic 'Health', which also echoes New Order in places.

With its delicate guitar patterns, ethereal harmonies and careful drum work, 'Hands Down' is tranquil and ghostly but towards the end bursts into theatrical darkness, while the catchy 'All Those Friendly People' is bright and sunny yet strangely sad at the same time, providing perhaps the album's most ironically upbeat moment. Things take a more sorrowful turn on the delicate and slightly claustrophobic ‘We Only Attack Ourselves’ with its acoustic guitar and sombre violins, before 'Adventures/Misadventures' runs on a relaxed synth hook and gritty guitars. On 'Stars Are Spaceships' there are hints of Editors and Maccabees with a twist of White Lies and their powerfully glum electro pop, while the brightly angular 'Florida' is another highlight, pretty and lively, building into an inventive arrangement. 

'Machines Too' delivers more soaring guitars, a superb bass riff and drums hit with fury, breaking free into uplifting bursts of melody, before 'I Still Love The High' closes the album with bleak distorted keys, creepy tones, and a wearily sad chorus that brings out the best in the gloomy, distant vocals.

Sometimes they could benefit from employing a bit more diversity, but they are undoubtedly good at what they do. They are more than capable of developing their songwriting further, and they show a lot of promise indeed. 'Lily Of The Valley' does take a few listens to sink in, but when it does you'll know that it's certainly worth keeping an eye out for what they produce next. 7.5

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