Funeral for a Friend

Seven Ways to Scream Your Name

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Released shortly after the band's debut album Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation, this U.S.-targeted mini-LP was clearly meant to introduce American audiences to the band's unorthodox formula for emo-gone-metal-gone-hardcore. Collecting seven highlights from three separate Funeral for a Friend U.K. releases (namely the "Juneau" single, and the Between Order and Model and Four Ways to Scream Your Name EPs), this set certainly proves that the band's clever balance between measured aggression and melodic immediacy is tenuous at best. Up and down it goes, as "Red is the New Black" and "Kiss and Makeup" both manage to convincingly rock their emotional riffs and words, while the pointedly sardonic "The Art of American Football" simply gets too lazy, copping its every trick from post-alternative Irishmen Therapy? More worrisome, however, is the creepy, suspicious feeling that pseudo-clever song titles ("10:45 Amsterdam Conversations," "This Year's Most Open Heartbreaker" -- please!) merely serve to mask Funeral for a Friend's rather pretentious, stylized angst. For metalheads crossing over, such subtleties are likely to go unnoticed, if only for lack of prior exposure to such gimmicks; but for emo fans, this self-conscious posturing can dangerously brand the group as hopeless posers caught red-handed in the process of betraying the genre's supposedly hyper-honest ethos. Whatever the case, when it comes time to invade America once and for all, Funeral for a Friend will have to overcome this ambiguity to make their money and reputation the old-fashioned way: they'll have to earn it.

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