Funeral for a Friend – Your History Is Mine


Album

Your History Is Mine

Label

Roadrunner Records

Year

2009

Genre

For Fans Of

Atreyu / Lostprophets / Rival Schools

Summary

While this record doesnt exonerate FFAF for some of the garbage they have put out over the years, it gives them a context as a decent rock band caught

Rating

63 / 100

Whether it’s draining the last few pennies from a fading fan-base or trying to escape the grips of a poorly negotiated contract, there’s seldom any legitimate artistic reason for any band to release a greatest hits album. This fact is amplified if the band has only been around for a few years, and in that time has only really had a handful of tracks that warrant distinction from the mountains of other bands struggling to keep their heads above water in this genre. A record is supposed to be a cohesive collection of tracks that, while not necessarily following a linear pattern, build on each other in some way. The anthology record sits with me as the antithesis of this idea, tearing a band’s successful tracks out of their intended context and throwing them together for a quick sell.

For whatever reason they decided (or were forced) to release a ‘best of’ record after just 7 years of band time, FFAF have put together a reasonably diverse collection of songs from their past and a few newies. Having always avoided FFAF mainly due to their cover art, the absolutely bog standard choice of band name (taken from a track by the notoriously mirthless Planes mistaken for Stars), and the amount of play they got from this knob named Liam I used to know, it’s interesting to see the capacity that this band might have were it not so torn between genres and trends.

While not overly familiar with the Welsh music scene, on listening to the tracks from the first few recordings from FFAF, it’s hard not to make the assumption that they shared more than their fair share of the stage with fellow Welshmen Lostprophets early on in their career.

The tepid attempts at screaming that plague the tracks taken from the band’s earlier recordings have largely been abandoned in favour of clean vocals and more complex guitar arrangements that come across as a little bit heavy on the cheese from time to time. Where the screams have been abandoned, FFAF have opted for a much more bearable gritty yell, accompanied by arena-rock friendly hooks that offer little in the way of variety. Lyrically, frontman Matthew Davies does little to separate himself from the legions of other lyricists in the genre. Lines like ‘the grass will be greener on the other side / that’s where I want to be / somewhere that she can really see’ make it next to impossible to listen to this music in any kind of company.

There’s some great singalongs to be found on this record, but the varying quality of songwriting and musical direction betrays a band enveloped in a long term struggle with its identity. The kind of traverse between pop, rock and hardcore that FFAF have tried to create in different measures throughout their career as been done much more deftly. Bands like AFI and Circa Survive balance are able to seamlessly balance aspects of metal, pop and post-hardcore without creating a confusion or disunity between tracks, and by this measure FFAF come off as clumsy and confused.

Conclusion

Having given this record a few spins, I’m not about to run out and grab everything in FFAF’s back catalogue, but it’s a lesson for somebody like me who had written these guys off as a pack of jokers.

Tracklisting

Disc One

1. "10:45 Amsterdam Conversations" – 3:41
2. "This Year’s Most Open Heartbreak" – 2:43
3. "Juneau" – 3:37
4. "She Drove Me to Daytime Television" – 3:35
5. "Escape Artists Never Die" – 5:18
6. "Red Is the New Black" – 5:14
7. "Streetcar" – 3:39
8. "Roses for the Dead" – 4:06
9. "History" – 4:08
10. "Into Oblivion (Reunion)" – 4:23
11. "Walk Away" – 3:48
12. "Kicking and Screaming" – 3:23
13. "No Honour Among Thieves" – 2:45
14. "Built to Last" – 4:20
15. "Wrench" – 2:30
16. "Captains of Industry" – 3:43

Disc Two

1. "Getaway Plan" – 4:14
2. "The System" (J. Matranga, S. Lopez) – 2:06
3. "You Want Romance?" – 2:51
4. "10 Scene Points to the Winner" – 2:39
5. "Lazarus (In the Wilderness)" – 2:50
6. "I Am the Arsonist" – 4:50
7. "This Letter" – 3:17
8. "Babylon’s Burning" (P. Fox, G. Barnacle) – 2:32
9. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (P. Hewson, The Edge, A. Clayton, L. Mullen Jr) – 4:25
10. "The Boys Are Back in Town" (P. Lynott) – 4:20
11. "Pirate Song" (Gameface) – 3:45
12. "Rise and Fall" – 3:28
13. "Crash and Burn" – 3:53
14. "In a Manner of Sleep" – 4:29
15. "Africa" – 3:30
16. "Faster" – 3:54
17. "Join Us" – 3:47
18. "Drive" (Tiscali acoustic session) – 4:32
19. "The Art of American Football" (Tiscali acoustic session) – 3:06
20. "Into Oblivion (Reunion)" (Haunts remix) – 4:55

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