The Rest Of The World Rushes To Catch Up With Funeral Party

Thursday, 31 March 2011

It might sound trite or opportunistic (in retrospect), but sometimes the music business might have to wait for the world to be ready for a new sound or idea. Such is not a regular occurrence (most recently, Streetlight Manifesto reportedly had to wait two years for the first installment of their 99 Songs Of Revolution series of full-length albums to see release), but the justification for occasions like that is simple; sometimes, a label may need to wait until it has the capitol to properly release an album, or said company may forecast a turn mainstream taste coming which would make releasing a particular album a little later a wise choice, so they'll sit on the album in question until such time as it will be able to make the greatest impact. Such is exactly the situation that Funeral Party has found itself in for the last two years; after departing from Fearless Records in 2008 and signing with RCA/Sony, the band entered the studio and recorded its' debut album for that label, The Golden Age Of Knowhere. “It was kind of like crunch time pretty much, because we were in between labels,” remembers Funeral Party singer Chad Elliott of the time. “We were at the end of a relationship with one and were pretty much free for any label that wanted to come in. We had heard that a couple of labels were interested so we weren't too afraid and the whole process of making the album sort of revolved around that; we were in the position where we were able to say, 'Okay, we have two months to sort of sit down, relax and write this album.' It was kind of cool because we had been waiting for this sort of opportunity, so we took those two months and crammed every idea we had been playing with all our lives into the songs and whipped them into shape to work.  Then things got set up with RCA, and we already had somewhat of a body of work completed, so we kind of had to fill in the gaps with other things, so we got back into writing.

“That's where our heads were while we were writing and rehearsing for this album,” continues the singer. “I'd come in with some lyrics or the other guys would bring in some of the ideas that they had and we were all contributing to the songs. In that way, writing this album was definitely a group effort. It took two months to write the newest songs on the record – when we just got into someone's garage and worked on them for, like, ten hours a day and then it took another three or four months to record and finish.”

In listening to the results, it's easy to hear the frenetic urgency that went into making The Golden Age Of Knowhere. From the opening build of “New York City Moves To The Sound Of LA,” Elliott, guitarist James Torres, bassist Kimo Kauhola and drummer Tim Madrid bridge the divide that previously existed between the guitar-driven post-punk music that has bled out of basement clubs for decades and the glitzy, glittering, beat-centered pop which has been the joy of Top 40 dance clubs for just as long. The result is that The Golden Age Of Knowhere may indeed be the first bow shot in a “pop-core” movement which incorporates elements of both into one infectious whole. That start is remarkably strong, but listeners will be shocked and thrilled to find that the energy level never wanes through the ten tracks that follow “New York City Moves To The Sound Of LA,” no matter which way the band turns or which angle to the sound Funeral Party takes. The sound proves to be remarkably pliable too; “Cars Wars” angles the band in a distinctly 'disco' direction while “Finale” boasts a garage rock tone that no Strokes or Franz Ferdinand fan would be able to turn away from, while “Where Did It All Go Wrong” aerates a few ghosts of Goldfrapp and the title track boasts the kind of pop bombast that has rocketed Coldplay to the top of the charts several times over. Now, listing all of those names in one figurative breath may imply to some readers that The Golden Age Of Knowhere comes off muddled and confused but, in practice, the album is solid in its' universality and it is easy to pick out Funeral Party's own authoritative voice. Here, Funeral Party boosts and cross-wires all of those sounds masterfully and uses them as ingredients into the presentation of their own ideas and, in so doing, makes a sound in which anyone can find something they like. “Yeah, there's no easy way to classify it,” concedes Elliott with a laugh. “It's not like we wrote the whole thing within a month's span. Where most records have this sort of cohesiveness about them, ours doesn't really have that. I get asked all the time if I can describe it but, really, the only common trait that all of these songs have is energy; there's a bit of pop in it, but there's also a bit of screaming and that energy as well. As I say, we took all of the ideas we wanted to try and put them into The Golden Age Of Knowhere; none of us held anything back, we just poured every idea that we had and excited us into it to see what would come out.”

With the record complete and everyone involved excited about the results, all that remained was for a release day to be announced. The band waited patiently and now – two years after recording wrapped on The Golden Age Of Knowhere – the album has finally gotten its' North American release on RCA Records. Now that things are starting to move again, some of the excitement of the release is starting to return to the band, but it has been tempered by the fact that, according to Elliott, it isn't like the band has sat fallow, waiting. “We started performing the songs right after we had finished recording and, while we're excited that the album's finally coming out, the sort of catch to it is that we've been living with these songs for a while,” explains the singer of what's gone on with the band since The Golden Age Of Knowhere sessions wrapped and the effort it has taken to go back and recall the record for the release. “It's a little weird to try and go back to when we recorded these songs. During interviews, writers have asked us where we were when we wrote this song and that song, but it's really not that easy to remember! It's funny, you know, because we've written songs since we made the record that we've played live, gotten sick of and retired, but now we're bound back to tour behind the album! We do have some other new songs too that are pretty fresh and brand new and we've already been testing them out. The album came out a little earlier in the UK and it has been getting some pretty good response – I know some of those songs are already up on YouTube – and I've heard from people who have said that they really like it. We went over there for a tour and it went really, really well – people knew the words to the songs, venues were sold out, it was our first headlining tour there and it was just amazing – so now we're just hoping it does as well here. We've really got our fingers crossed because we've been gone from L.A. for a while – it made sense, because there was more heat on us in the UK – and we're really hoping it does well here.”



The Golden Age Of Nowhere
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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