Funeral Party; now there’s a great name for a band. Infinitely better than Bullet For My Valentine or Bloody Beetroots Death Club 77, at least. This Californian quartet write raucously infectious dance-rock that one could possibly imagine jiving to at a wake or similarly sombre occasion. In fact, one would daresay they’re the closest thing to The Rapture on the music scene right now, which works perfectly well for me because that’s one band I’ll never get enough of (even if they’ve had enough of each other.) Funk-punk or whatever you want to call it, Funeral Party play loud and messy and accordingly their songs should be blasted at a similar volume.
The most alluring part of this group is that their singer Chad Elliot seems to have absolutely no problem with destroying his vocal chords. Like the supposed hardcore band that many imagined them to be upon first hearing their name, Funeral Party’s frontman spends most of his time on wax reaching for extraordinary heights with his lungs and when that fails, screaming his way past like it ain’t no thang. That means that there’s no such thing as ‘top of the range’ for Elliot; he can hit any note if he really wants to even if it’s highly offensive to anybody else listening. ‘Car Wars’ is a great example of that kind of stretching, with Elliot killing himself from pretty much the first line of the verse. That’s not to say he can’t sing, because he can. It’s more that he’s willing to take risks where other more sensible people probably wouldn’t. We like that.
Funeral Party are famous in this country for the opening track (above) to their very good debut, The Golden Age Of Knowhere, ‘New York City Moves To The Sound Of L.A.’ But where that is a hype song that piques interest, ‘Car Wars’ has more emotional than sheer blunt impact and merits repeat listens. There’s that disco inspired bass line that slides all over the place, bouncing between first and fifths and short bursts of guitars in the lead-in sections. Any song that can be driven purely by rhythm section and voice has to have something going for it, and while it’s no Dave Guetta-outta-here, there’s a certain groove sensibility to this essentially punk sounding band that can’t be ignored. If you listen closely, you’ll hear the bongos slamming away in the verse just like a classic Earth Wind & Fire joint. That kind of added tone colour isn’t necessary, but it’s something the band deliberately chose to add, like that fucking incredible guitar solo that is straight out of the Dave Navarro songbook which closes out the song in spectacular style. There’s something whimsically juvenile about this piece of music that I really enjoy, but it also has a lot of guts behind it. Also, the song title really reminds me of Chuck Palahniuk book, Rant. Which, incidentally, is also whimsically juvenile.
Funeral Party – ‘Car Wars’
Dance with more coffins here.