The Funeral Suits – Lily of the Valley LP

The Basics
A four piece from Ireland, their debut album comes courtesy of two years spent holed-up inside a disused office block in Dublin. However, lending a helping hand on production duties is a certain Mr. Stephen Street, the man behind the likes of The Smiths, Blur and Peter Doherty to name but a few, so this certainly won’t be an amateur effort from a group who’ve garnered attention supporting Franz Ferdinand and the Maccabees recently.
The Verdict
‘Mary’s Revenge’ greets you with a choral recital of “love I know I’ve been away, now I’m back.” It’s enough to catch you off-guard and is wholly unrepresentative of what follows, rather representing a lull prior to the storm of heavy synths and distorted guitars that see the album truly taking off into orbit. ‘Colour Fade’ follows; it’s Arcade Fire-esque, with pounding drums reminiscent of the effect they’re having on your heartbeat, with an understated guitar building around the relentless pulsing.

Already, ‘Lily of the Valley’ is portraying itself as an intense, brooding record and the drama doesn’t let up through ‘Health’, a haunting and sinister pursuit through an unknown city at dusk, Brian James exposed as one of those frontmen who sings every word – every syllable even – as if his very being depends on its delivery. But, like a sudden shower on a sticky August afternoon, the intensity is relieved at just the right moment by ‘All Those Friendly People’, which is reminiscent of the Stone Roses in their more introspective moments, perhaps let down slightly by the sluggish drumming but overall taking the album into an altogether sunnier realm.
The metamorphosis is only temporary however, although the violin-utilising apocalyptic lullaby ‘We Only Attack Ourselves’ does continue to display the bands musical flexibility by stepping back from the heaviness that dominates most of the album.
‘Lily of the Valley’ by no means presents The Funeral Suits as the finished article – it’s definitely a top heavy record that at times feels all too familiar as it progresses, some of the later tracks sounding a little claustrophobic in terms of ambition. However, as far as polished sounding debuts go, you won’t find many better out there so far in 2012.
Words by Lewis Parker
Lily of the Valley is released on June 4th.

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