Unless you played a lot of Burnout 3 growing up, it was somewhat unlikely that (if you were living in the USA, anyway) you were a day 1 fan of Funeral For A Friend. But in England, Wales, and Europe in general, there was a post-hardcore storm brewing in 2003. Much like their American counterparts with bands like Story Of The Year, My Chemical Romance, and dozens of others, the British Isles had their own scene brewing. All across the spectrum of rock, metal, and post-hardcore, exciting bands could be found. From Scotland’s exciting alt-rock heroes Biffy Clyro to the UK post-hardcore bands Hundred Reasons and Million Dead (fun fact, the latter was fronted by Frank Turner), there were no shortage of intriguing bands to listen to. Even the (very) early days of bands like Enter Shikari and Bullet For My Valentine were happening in the early part of the new millennium, and speaking of Welsh groups like the latter, Funeral For A Friend may have loomed as the largest.
Just 18 months after their early 2002 formation, Funeral For A Friend were set to release Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation, comprised of songs that would make up their now-iconic debut full-length. An interesting mixture of styles, this record had it all – metalcore and post-hardcore influences from across the spectrum, a sing/scream dynamic, dueling guitars, and an almost alt-rock/pop-punk sensibility that helped draw a wider audience.
Rarely does a band get things completely right on their debut album, but Funeral For A Friend were an exception. With massive choruses on songs like “Juneau” and album opener “Rookie Of The Year” (which, if it weren’t for the energetic guitars, you could possibly label pop-punk), there is undoubtedly a heavier counterpoint FFAF explored here, pointing to their musical roots. In particular, “Bullet Theory” (with its tremendous breakdown, but also ridiculously catchy chorus) and the lengthier “Red Is The New Black” both combine the band’s balanced strengths to full effect. Even listening to it today, you can understand why, especially in the context of the musical climate it was released in, it made Funeral For A Friend instant stars.