There's this long-standing adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same. I'm probably dating myself, but upon first listen to Facts About Funeral's debut disc Love Songs I felt as if I could be listening to a semi-obscure rock album from the pre-punk 1970s. The hallmarks of that time-period are contained herein: doleful tempos; angst-laden guitar solos, raspy, crestfallen singing; and a layered, somewhat orchestral approach with your basic rock instrumentation (guitars, keys, drums, etc.) with hints of prog (what we oldsters used to call "progressive rock"). Which is not necessarily a bad thing per se; with mainstream radio the way it is these days, most rockin' youths aren't going to be familiar with the Seattle band's FM-radio forbears, namely Supertramp (pre-"The Logical Song"), the Strawbs, and Small Faces (psychedelic era and early in their Rod Stewart edition). It's not like Facts About Funerals (past and current members of New West Motels, Sera Cahoone, and Swell) are unoriginal or overtly retro, they're just deriving honest inspiration from not-yet-hip aspects of rock history.
But is it any good? Yes, dear reader — if misery indeed loves company, Love Songs & Funeral Homes will make a dandy soundtrack for sullen ruminations during gloomy weekend afternoons. With its loping, dejected tempo and subtle gospel undertones, "Dumb" (I was dumb/I let you push me around) is soulfully, broodingly cathartic. The crunching, rollicking, bitterly sardonic "Black Whiskey" (Whatever you're selling I've already sold) evokes pre-glitter-era Mott the Hoople in its particularly pugnacious moments. Cheery it's not, but FAF play and sing with care and conviction. (Get a copy for an older sibling [or parent] who hasn't bought a new rock disc in years.) (Evangeline Records)
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