Funeral for a Friend

Tales Don't Tell Themselves

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When a band unleashes a two-part song as the centerpiece of their album, it's a clear sign that the art fix is in -- and so is the case with Funeral for a Friend, whose third album, Tales Don't Tell Themselves, is some kind of nautical concept album (just like Modest Mouse's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, but not really!). Producer Gil Norton certainly provides crucial assistance in giving Funeral's music a cinematic splendor and a glossy pop sheen, turning Tales Don't Tell Themselves into an unapologetic big rock record -- big in its sound, big in its hooks, big in its ambitions, big in every way except singer Matt Davies' voice, which is still a thin, tremulous instrument when he sings. He can get swallowed up by the waves of guitars, but that plainspoken voice accentuates the group's post-hardcore roots, which otherwise are quickly receding into the past as of this record. This lack of aggression, whether it's in the buzzing guitars or absent screams, could very well alienate longtime fans, but Funeral for a Friend not only displays an increased sense of ambition on this sweeping great leap forward, they also display a greater sense of accomplishment, as writers and musicians. They may be shedding their old skin here, but the growth is a fascinating thing to witness.

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