Album Reviews

Album Review: Funeral Party – Golden Age of Knowhere

on January 25, 2011, 8:00am
funeralparty C+
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“Burn it down and rip off the pages,
The kids all over right through the ages
Making sure that it works for now,
Cut your hair and paint your stupid faces.”
~ Funeral Party, “NYC Moves to the Sound of L.A.”

There is the confrontation of a lyrical middle finger directed at the “scenes” (“NYC Moves…”); a crash-and-bang smirk of celebratory noise and youthful encapsulation (“Carwars”); and a chaotic alarm to shock you from the malaise of a 20-nothing becoming a geriatric at age 30 (“Finale”).

This is music to dance, jerk, mellow, and strike up the adolescent chorus to. To east-coasters stretched bottom to top, with a Quick Stop in the middle (forgiving the nausea of Jersey Shore), the likes of sugar high-riding, hip-to-be-mainlined dystopian indie should not fit our landscape. Then again, NYC moves to the sound of Los Angeles, no?

What difference does an album make? “Postcards of Persuasion” and “City in Silhouettes” make Silversun Pickups look like All-American Rejects; the lyrical crassness of the opening number “NYC Moves…” hearkens to Harvey Danger’s “Cream And Bastards Rise”, had it been slid a notch or two up on the manic pacing. There is a resemblance to The Happy Hollows here, and I cannot say Funeral Party is the most original act I’ve ever heard, but in terms of similar-sounding bands, Golden Age Of Knowhere presents itself exactly as it should — no sunbathed frills and balls to the college corridor walls.

Golden Age is not a five-star effort, and anyone who kissed its ass on that note should take another look at the last decade; the themes of quarter-life pseudo-rebellion and self-realization have been done to death, and we’re only footsteps away from fully reviving old soul and rock (Eli Reed, anyone?) for alternative moods. Be that as it may, Funeral Party has a fast-paced vibe that can cater to punk rock enthusiasts, fans of The Strokes (“Where Did It Go Wrong?”), ravers and party-goers of the indie crowd (“Youth And Poverty”), and straightforward softer feelings (“Relics To Ruins”). All in all, there are no blinding disappointments or transcendental awe — only pure energy and wanting that we can all appreciate.

At its core, Golden Age speaks up like another highly anticipated LP with everything to prove, and the proof is in the pudding. Funeral Party’s previous EP was a mere taste sampler, and anything you could have expected from the band based solely on that release we have received in abundance. Guitars swing and strike the sharp edges of the ear canal; vocals sway between cutting and careful, and Golden Age defines why hype is not always a bad idea — so long as one is completely honest about what to see coming, 100%. Nobody expected some kind of profound album from Funeral Party, and what we have here is clear communication between effort and demand.

At prior EP favorite “Giant”, and a stellar moment of clarity on the closing title song, it occurs to me:  This might not be a sunny recording from a surf pop and alternative act in California, but that is what makes it so delicious — a teenage rock wasteland on wax, folks.

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