Funeral Party - The Golden Age of Knowhere [Album Review]
Much like a young basketball player using his athletic ability to get out of the dirty, dangerous slums to make a better life for himself, Funeral Party have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps, worked hard at their music and busted out of their hometown by exuding energy and swagger to get their infectious music out in front of the masses.
Released on March 29, The Golden Age of Knowhere, the début album from Funeral Party is gaining serious attention for the Whittier, CA based group. Produced by Lars Stalfors (Matt & Kim, The Mars Volta) and mixed by Dave Sardy (Band of Horses, LCD Soundsystem, Oasis) the band received a break when Stalfors saw them perform live and asked them to record at the same studio used by The Mars Volta.
Naming themselves after a song from The Cure's third album, Faith, Funeral Party played chaotic backyard parties and dangerous underground venues in East L.A. to hone their musical craft. While the melancholy namesake song isn't as wild as the parties or the band's sound it serves as the basis for their overall sound with emotional lyrics and keyboards. Vocalist Chad Elliott, a singer sounding like a punk at times and a breathy chanteuse at others, brings a dark, moody lyrical view at the center. Where guitarist James Lawrence Torres adds a rock style guitar, and bassist Kimo Kauhola provides melodic, bouncy bass lines that make the sound gel, yet leave a danceable feel. The band adds Tim Madrid on synth/percussion and Robert Shaffer as their touring drummer.
Clocking in a just over 41 minutes, the mostly 3 minute rock songs on The Golden Age of Knowhere mix an alternative rock, pop and punk rock sound, with a twinge of dance together into a concoction that seems made for both concert venue and club mix. Utilizing mostly clean sounding riffs, the guitar drives the melody with keyboard and synthesizers evoke the mood while bass lines groove like early '80s punk, and drums incorporate a '80s college rock beats with emphasis on the hi-hat and percussion. These are 20-somethings full of emotions, expressing themselves in song and finding their own way in the world. For instance, in interviews Elliott has admitted to reading the classic novel Lord of the Flies and helping him write lyrics for the album.
With an anthemic quality opening, "Finale," the first single from the album, begins with a tinkling keyboard line and quickly builds into the driving bass line, guitar and drum beat that gets the feet tapping and engine revving fast. While the bass keeps driving, the song starts creeping up the intensity level with alternating verses of guitar crunch. The tempo seems to intensify further finally breaking into a crescendo of Elliott singing along with a group of friends shouting along. Nearly screaming now as the band stops, the large chorus of voices beg for the listener to join in as Elliott sings "We are the voices under the tracks, drawing it forward/pushing it back." The listener is more than ready to get on board and join the band on their journey!
Opening with a punk rock bass line and plenty of cowbell, "New York City Moves To The Sound Of L.A." breaks out of the speakers as another contender for best track on the record. With a strong indie rock style guitar riff from Torres, the track packs in percussion, background vocals, hand claps, effects, keyboards, into a "Wall of Sound" that attacks the ears of the listener in the best way possible; the sound of a true hit. This is the kind of song that must be the jam live leaving the dance floor a sweaty mess.
The Golden Age of Knowhere is a solid début effort for a young band finally pushing their way onto the scene after dedicating years to playing. If they continue to bring the same energy and intensity to their music both recorded and live you will no doubt be hearing much more from this band in the years to come.
Funeral Party - The Golden Age of Knowhere track listing (highlighted songs are streaming audio)
City In Silhouettes
The Golden Age Of Knowhere
New York City Moves To The Sound of L.A.
Postcards of Persuasion
Relics To Ruins
Where Did It Go Wrong
Youth & Poverty
Here's their video for their first single “Finale”
Also check out their performance of "Finale" on the Late Show with David Letterman
Secondly, their official video for "NYC Moves To The Sound Of LA"
There’s also a very cool mini-documentary that was made by Channel 4 in the U.K. Check it out below to get a feel for the band.
Three and a half weeks ago, Funeral Party made their network television debut performing "Finale" on Late Night With David Letterman and a week later on Jimmy Kimmel Live. MTV and Fuse have taken notice and Alternative Press placed the band on its list of Bands to Watch for 2011. On tour they have supported the likes of The Faint, Cut Copy,The Mars Volta, and Crystal Castles. For the next month or so, Funeral Party take the opening slot for The Deftones. Later, they plan to hit the road opening for Panic! At the Disco.
Funeral Party Tour Dates:
4/14 – Paramount Theatre Seattle, WA **
4/15 – Crystal Ballroom Portland, OR **
4/16 – Crystal Ballroom Portland, OR **
4/21 – In The Venue Salt Lake City, UT**
4/22 – Odgen Theatre Denver, CO **
4/23 – Odgen Theatre Denver, CO **
4/26 – The Pageant St. Louis, MO **
4/28 – First Avenue Minneapolis, MN**
4/29 – Rave Milwaukee, WI**
4/30 – Rivieria Theatre Chicago, IL **
5/1 – Fillmore Theatre Detroit, MI **
5/3 – Sound Academy Toronto, ON **
5/4 – Metropolis Montreal, QC **
5/5 – Hampton Beach Casino Hampton, NH **
5/6 – Lupo’s Providence, RI**
5/7 – Webster Theatre Hartford, CT **
5/9 – House of Blues Boston, MA **
5/10 – Electric Factory Philadelphia, PA**
5/11 – Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ **
5/13 – Best Buy Theater New York, NY **
5/14 – Best Buy Theater New York, NY**
**Denotes opening slot for The Deftones