Funeral For A Friend’s first album Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation was one of the most exciting debuts in the 2000’s. Ear shatteringly loud, monstrously heavy with a soul that seeped in through the lush harmonious vocals, it was a triumph of harmonious hardcore rock. They’re later efforts? Not so much. Plagued by a disconnect between the vocals and the music as well as a general lack of cohesion between the guitars and the rhythm section the hardcore rock lost its harmony.
Best Friends and Hospital Beds is alas not only an epitome of every mistake the band continues to make five albums into their career (clearly no one cares about these mistakes as much as I do) it tragically shows signs that the band were oh so close to recapturing that 2003 magic.
The vocals are a poetic war cry and the music charges with the force of a hundred hardened warfighters, its just a pity they seem to belong to two different tracks. Matthew Davies-Kreye crams indulgent lyrics with erratic clauses in between a drummer and a guitarist who can’t seem to agree what speed to play the song at.
What makes this jarring combination even worse is that it means the chorus deserves such a better song to be a part of. It’s remarkable, not only for the music but for the sheer transformation the band make in the time it takes to play the bridge. The guitarist wakes up, the drummer realises he really should be playing the same song as the rest of the band and the front man has the epiphany to sing with the music not against it. But it’s all for nothing because in a notes time we’re back to the verse and square one.
This could have been the comeback of a band who since finding fame a decade ago have lost their way, their focus and seem determined to drown themselves in their own indulgence. If they just bite the bullet and realised what they had back in 2003 wasn’t so bad (in fact it was awesome) they might just make another album that doesn’t sound like the band are at an unwinnable war with themselves.