With a line-up change comes the chance to create a new chemistry within a band and, in turn, a new chemistry in the music. Funeral For A Friend have had plenty of line-up changes to test the theory, and, with ex-Rise To Remain drummer Pat Lundy being the latest part of the equation, it seems album #6 ‘Conduit’ might be their finest spark in years.
A band going ‘back to their roots’ can seem a cliché, but it seems the most sensible move. When you think you’ve found the missing piece of the puzzle, why not strip things back and flourish in your simplest form? ‘Spine’ opens the record through an eerie guitar to a collective bang, showing that Funeral For A Friend are not only killing it with the heavier tracks once more, but that Lundy’s drums aid with that simply massive feel. This rears its head throughout the record, and together they bring a new power to the music.
What’s more, Matt’s vocals work clearly on two levels; it retains the identifiable and nostalgic vibe through much of their tracks, while also treading new territory. Is he just trying to emulate Ryan’s parts? No, he’s developing his own vocals to bridge that gap, and it proves a welcome addition.
‘The Distance’ has one of the catchiest choruses and guitar licks on offer, while ‘Best Friends and Hospital Beds’ was simply designed for touring – big, bold and unrelenting, the band prove that they can still mesh heavy-ass verses with more melodic choruses brilliantly. ‘Nails’ is a stand out, fearlessly soaring through with slick guitars here and airy choruses there. ‘High Castles’ offers one of the most diverse tracks, as well as the best vocal offering for a live vicinity.
Their line-up changes more than most, but it feels like they’ve really clicked here. ‘Conduit’ still has a spark of experimentation, but this feels more natural – a band so excited by what they’re doing that they just roll with it. Some moments can feel a bit disjointed, but they’re easily overlooked in what is a great record.