Funeral Diner

The Underdark

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Funeral Diner's second proper full-length album, The Underdark starts with "Decline," a great slow-building instrumental that borrows the quiet-to-loud dynamics of Canadian instrumental rockers like Do Make Say Think or Explosions in the Sky but adds just a hint more aggression, not to mention considerably less patience, since the song is over and done in just over four minutes, by which time those other bands would barely have stated the main instrumental theme. Unfortunately, the rest of the album is, well, a decline. The remaining seven songs keep the same basic template, but the screamed vocals and tortured lyrics sound like they were forced onto the songs as an afterthought. Listening to the stop-start dynamics of "Collapsing" and the epic sweep of the nine-minute "It Is Good That We Never Met," one almost gets the sense that the other four guys in the band wouldn't mind if the grating, dull lead singer Seth Babb would shut up more often. It's certainly true that this album would automatically be 100 percent more interesting if Funeral Diner were a purely instrumental band.

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