Many bands follow a similar path that Funeral For A Friend have taken; creating a stellar debut which sets the bar high for years to come, follow with a slightly watered down yet more than acceptable sophomore, but then begin regression in an attempt of progression and musical experimentation from there on. ‘Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation’ is still generally seen as the band’s best work to date, but now with major labels out of the picture and the pledge idea put in place, ‘The Young & Defenceless’ is a gobstopper for the naysayers who’ve written the Welsh band off for good.
Admittedly, the EP is still not even brushing against the great and inspiring British post-hardcore work the band were churning out with ‘Casually Dressed…’ and ‘Hours’, but evidence of reform to their roots is a step in the right direction. The mainstream appeasing two albums to follow in 2007 and 2009 respectively were for lack of better words, “pretty crap”. Everything seemed to take a back seat and downgrade for what became a more simplistic, boring and hard to get into style.
But fear not, ‘The Young & Defenceless’ is starting to push all the right buttons once more, and features 4 tracks of some of the best work FFAF have done for the past few years. ‘Serpents In Solitude’ is poppy yet raw, and follows onto ‘Vultures’ which takes on a similar fashion. Matthew Davies‘ vocals havenâ€™t really progressed much from their recent efforts, and neither has his lyrics, but the fierce guitar workings of Kris Coombs-Roberts and Gavin Burrough are better than before (most notably in ‘Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don’t’), and even if just for nostalgia reasons it’s nice to see the return of the often hard to distinguish harsh raws of drummer Ryan Richards, along with his fast clattering drum work.
Funeral For A Friend to many seemed like a band who should just throw the towel in already, and had alienated their old fans for good. Though far from back in their glory days, ‘The Young & Defenceless’ should appease to many who’d lost hope long ago, and is a good first step in the door for the full-length to follow.
Written by Zach Redrup