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"Reviews - The Funeral - Birth EP"

The Funeral
Birth E.P. (Velvet Ant Records)
By Michael Roberts

Published: Thursday, May 5, 2005

The latest from the Funeral is a good news/bad news/good news situation. The good news is that the trio, which sprang from the corpse of a Texas combo called Belu, exhibits excellent taste in outside material by covering Gang of Four's "Damaged Goods." The bad news is that the new rendition can't compare to the original. And the good news is that the three-piece's own compositions are more than strong enough to compensate.
Guitarist/vocalist Adam Marez, drummer Brandon Gray and sound manipulator Peter Black, aka DJ Aztec, are a tight, grimy unit that's got plenty of range. Take "Piss," a splashy opener that's danceable in a completely different way than the brooding, synth-heavy "Big Shot" and the floor mix of "Falter," which retrofits Marez's theatrically creepy singing with a labyrinthine arrangement highlighted by grinding riffs, nagging keyboard rhythms and high-hat stings that leave a mark.

Don't leave the Funeral for dead, because Birth is a new beginning.

- Denver's Westword - Michael Roberts - Editor

"Reviews - The Funeral - Birth EP"

Pardon the anticipated joke, but with aural allusions to The Cure, Simon Le Bon’s pleading vocals, and a name like The Funeral, a band risks burying itself among the numerous new-wave/post-punk revivalists. To their credit, Adam Marez (vocals, bass), Brandon Gray (drums, backup vocals), and Peter Black (synthesizers and studio wizardry), who are The Funeral, deliver four strong tracks with memorable choruses and tremendous energy on their sufficiently diverse debut EP, Birth.

The EP’s opening track, “Piss,” is a raw explosion of buzzing punk, with Marez yelping and cursing. There is an industrial element to the song, and Marez sounds a little like a young John Lydon. The force of “Piss” is terrific, and the track’s expeditious performance hides its lack of melody. The second song on Birth is an outstanding cover of “Damaged Goods” by Gang of Four. Retouching one of that band’s catchiest and more traditionally structured rock songs reveals The Funeral’s guts. With razor-sharp synth lines, urgency to dance, and appealing vocal echoes with a faux British accent, The Funeral’s version should introduce this classic post-punk song from the late 70s to an audience born almost a decade after Gang of Four released “Damaged Goods” on its debut LP, Entertainment!

An excellent original recording on Birth is “Big Shot,” a blistering track with a driving keyboard theme, glorious echo effects, and pounding drums. Marez’s singing ranges from authoritarian narration to high-pitched pleas in the chorus. He even has a moment when he pronounces “postage stamp” like “peow-stej stamp” in vintage late 70s DIY style. Birth closes with an exclusive “Floor Mix” by the band of “Falter,” a song from its new debut album. This remix features greater emphasis on the rhythm section than the other songs on Birth. Black plays his keys claustrophobically, with a compositional structure instantly familiar to fans of The Cure’s “A Forest.”

Simultaneously, The Funeral appears most vulnerable and comfortable on a track resembling one of The Cure’s early massive successes. There is a certain human element in “Falter (Floor Mix)” that’s more subdued on other tracks on the EP. That is not a weakness as much as it is a distinguishing element among the songs on Birth. So far, so good. I’m curious to hear where The Funeral runs with its ideas over a full-length album.

- Sahar Oz, 6/21/2005
- Delusions of Adequacy - Rochester, NY

"Reviews - The Funeral - Birth EP & 7"

7" Single - An instant classic. BUY NOW or you won't be able to say "Oh, i got that when it came out!" Also, if Brendan encounters you and you don't have it, there will be consequences!

Review: With a name like The Funeral, one would expect some sort of black-clad goth act. Although there is a hint of that here, The Funeral are much more. There is a darkness to the music, sure, but it is the darkness of the nightclub, not that of the grave. What i mean to say here is that The Funeral are a classic post-punk dance band, not some mopey depressed act. Actually, when i listen to The Funeral, i think that they are goth in the same sense that early Siouxsie and the Banshees, or The Cure's Seventeen Seconds was goth. It's actually slightly darker post-punk. It's got the trebly guitars and the predominance of synths that the early post-punks had started to play with. The vocals aren't the happiest things in the world, but the whole thing is wrapped up in a nice danceable beat. This is fun music, really.

Okay, well, i have a press sheet here that says that this band is basically a two piece consisting of a drummer and a bassist, both of whom sing, and then they added a full-time producer to the band. Kind of like mid-era Underworld i guess. Apparently they were in some band in Texas that i had never heard of, and now they live in Denver. And as a debut, they have released a really fine post-punk EP. There are four songs here, let's go over them, shall we?

The EP starts with a crunchy guitar riff and a bit of fuzzed out bass. Then the drums kick in, and the song moves into a rollicking groove. The tune is called Piss, and it features some really angry vocals screaming over a wall of grooved post-punk. It has an unstoppable energy, and i bet is very awesome in a live setting.

The next tune up is a very timely cover of Gang of Four's Damaged Goods. This is actually a pretty faithful cover in that The Funeral play the song as it was designed, only they use updated instrumentation and recording techniques, and they don't have the deadpan British vocals of Jon King. Still, it's a great song, and i like what they have done with the synth line here, turning it into a fat throbbing riff instead of the thin warble that Gang of Four used. They also play the song a little faster, so what was a pretty good dance tune before is, in the hands of The Funeral, a song that deserves to be played loudly at nightclubs. Fine stuff.

Big Shot features wobbly synths, echoed guitar, and some prominent, almost whining vocals. The voice here (clearly different than on the other songs) reminds me of some 80s band with Big Hair (Europe, perhaps) on the verses, then on the chorus the vocalist goes into a falsetto that really reminds me of Jimmy Sommerville (of The Communards). Anyway, despite that connection, this is a decent song. I would say that it is the weakest on this EP, but it's not awful by any means. The choruses are really nice, when the guitar stomps on its overdrive pedals, the drums kick it up a notch, and the falsetto comes in. I think the problem here is that this tune pales in comparison with its three siblings.

Finally, The Funeral wrap up their Birth with Falter (Floor Mix). Strange to release of a mix of a song without the original. I sit here wondering what Falter sounds like without the Floor mixing. Anyway, by Floor, they mean "dancefloor", for this is an awesome electroclash tune that even The Faint would be proud of. Synths churn, the drum beat throbs deeply, and guitars whir and chime. The voice here is some unholy fusion of Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart (in his high pitched pseudo whining pronunciation style) and Fearghul Sharkey (in the natural tremolo of the voice, used to great effect). This song really rocks.

So i really like this EP, and think that with a sound like this (very "today") and songs this catchy they could go far. Recommended if you like: Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, The Faint, etc etc. But, seriously, this is a good solid EP, and i do recommend it.

Now, in addition to releasing this debut EP, The Funeral have also extracted two of their best tunes to release on a 7". The A-side is Damaged Goods and the B-side is Falter (Floor Mix), both excellent tunes. However, the single does annoy my pet peeve in that it does not anywhere feature the speed at which to play the single. (It's a 45 RPM single, which is expected, but not universal). Anyway, that aside, by extracting two of the best songs from the EP and putting them on vinyl, The Funeral have created a single that i will listen to for years. Excellent work team.

PostLibyan -March 12, 2005

- Evilsponge

"The Funeral Finds Vintage Medium"

"Quick descriptive: Radiohead meets mod-rock of today (i.e. The Killers/Franz Ferdinand, a little Mazzy Star and The Saints). Dance your butt off to that, and then put it on for a long road trip through the mountains." - The Front


"Hey Denver! Hold on to your fucking saddles - cuz this band sounds like they're gonna blow you right off of 'em!
yowza!" - Febuary 26, 2005 - Eye Candy Magazine - Fort Collins, CO

"Funeral EP points to bigger things"

The Funeral
Velvet Ant Records

Indie hipsters sniffed out the gutsy dance cover of Gang of Four's post-punk anthem "Damaged Goods" on this rich four-song EP even before the disc landed in record stores this week. It helped that one-third of the part-time Austin, Texas, trio is longtime Denver producer Peter Black, formerly DJ Aztec of the Tuesday night soul party So What. Black has ditched his hip-hop persona but continues to engineer periodic synth dance parties around town, giving him the chance to flaunt The Funeral's irresistible cover.

The rest of the DJ's time is spent promoting the band, an edgy, electro-punk outfit. Here, "Big Shot" pairs lush electronic soundscaping la Bronski Beat with biting lyrics delivered in a deceptively sweet tone. And "Falter" is a synth-pop remix of a Cure-sounding track scheduled to appear on The Funeral's forthcoming full-length.

This is the first band signed to the fledgling Denver indie label Velvet Ant, so expectations are high for its full-length CD due later this year. These guys take themselves and their music pretty seriously. Listeners (and the industry) probably will too.

- Elana Ashanti Jefferson - Music Editor - March 2005

- The Denver Post

"Editor's Pick"

"Here they offer their 7” single that will have DJs and vinyl enthusiasts clamoring... The Funeral is hip to what’s hip right now. Beat wise it can get the dance floor moving but it still fits in to those late night post-party mixes that you play for your friends as you’re coming down..."


"REVIEWS: MUSIC: The Funeral - Birth EP"

Take away the retarded-ness of disco, the ridiculous suburban-ness of industrial, the pre-tense of new wave and throw in some raw emotion and you’ve got the Funeral, a band name that should have been in use long ago but somehow wasn’t (lucky bastards)...

...this 4 song EP shows a band that has the potential to explode.

Opening with “Piss,” The Funeral shows an aptness for creating musical hooks with a dark edge. I don’t even know what to compare it to, since all of the “mainstream” industrial acts are all caricatures of themselves. The Funeral doesn’t seem to be pandering to a particular crowd, therefore they don’t end up sounding like cheerleaders for a given genre. “Piss” is angry, catchy, evil and energetic all at once. This is a great lead track and the finest on the EP.

-Tyler - .:theTylerdotkom:.


Limited Edition 7" Double A-Side

Limited Edition 4 Track EP- "Birth"

Full-length 10 Track LP- "Spiders & Robots"
Scheduled Release: TBA


Feeling a bit camera shy


“He will rise to the top, abandon all his needs, get blisters on his knees, he will eat you alive…”, cries up-and-coming Funeral - AKA "Adam Marez", but the chorus to this electro-punk song isn’t a prediction, it’s a verdict – that you shake your ass. In less then a year, this rowdy, voltage-rock artist has managed to cause major dance-floor mayhem in Denver, CO. With pre-released leaks from the forthcoming EP- ‘Birth’, Denver's most influential DJ’s are discovering his music, and wielding his beats.

Upon being signed, in the fall of 2004, to newly formed Velvet Ant Records, and forming from the ashes of Texas based band “Belu” – a complex, melancholy, somber wall of melodies resembling that of many of their influences – South, Doves, Radiohead, frontman Adam Marez decided to transcend his personnel and writing styles and evolve to a much simpler form, one that would cut the achilles as well as the hearts of listeners. He wanted a party for the dying. He knew that his record would require recruiting the talents of producer and sound architect Peter Black, whose background for breaking new sounds was indisputable. “Peter became the catalyst for the death of one band and the birth of a new and very exciting sound.” states Adam Marez.

After spending months stripping away old layers of methods, styles, and rules, the band walked away from the studio with 15 wonderful tracks. They are uncompromising and filthy. They are naked pop-grime shards of gated guitars and distorted-synth basses. Inject shattered drumbeats and slice it with electronic soundscapes and the picture suddenly becomes very clear; Funeral is here to remind us that great things are always reborn.