Lewis Johns, notable for outstanding work on Gnarwolves’ debut release, is responsible for yet another fine production job on Funeral For A Friend’s latest effort. With a far more stripped back sound than heard in their recent work, moving back to the days before the Tales Don’t Tell Themselves blip, Pat Lundy’s drumming has never sounded so good, cutting through the mix perfectly and underscoring an album which any early-emo/post-hardcore fan will adore. It is a great final moment in his career with Funeral as he leaves to play for Modestep.
Aggression is a word too often bandied about, but “Modern Excuse Of A Man” encapsulates just that, a sub-two-minute assurance that Funeral remain punchy and raw where some of their contemporaries from the early noughties have taken the radio-friendly route to the mainstage. That said, “After All These Years… Like A Light Bulb Going Off In My Head”, not only boasts an impressively long title but features an anthemic breakdown, which will undoubtedly be yelled along to on tour.
“The Jade Tree Years Were My Best” demonstrates that same lyrical depth and emotive edge fans fell in love with through “Streetcar”, “Juneau” and “Roses For The Dead”. The acoustic track “Brother” feels like it is in conversation with “History”, and playing the two side by side you can hear just how much lead singer Matt Davies’ voice has matured over the years.
“Pencil Pusher”, “1%” and “Inequality” mark a more directly political, anti-establishment line for the band, with lyrics that speak out against the disillusionment that modern obsessive consumption has brought. “You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself” even samples a recording which, rightfully, declares that “women’s rights are human rights”. With such potent, heartfelt sentiment, Chapter And Verse echoes so much what Emo was about before attention turned to eyeliner-fueled photoshoots and Kerrang’s corporate-rock agenda.
With no filler tracks thrown in, the only complaint here is that this album is too short. It is both a fantastic entry point to a band that has rightfully achieved widespread acclaim on the international stage, and for those already converted, Chapter And Verse provides reassurance that Funeral For A Friend are now firmly back on track.