I welcome the occasional flight from justice as a brief holiday from boredom, but rarely is evasion as fruitful as the fine Tokyo afternoon when Funeral For A Friend came into my life. The back story will wait for another day, but my ass needed to disappear without delay. Popping off the Yamanote in Shibuya, I made for Tower Records (the natural instinct of a guy born with headphones on) and proceeded to kill an afternoon at the listening stations, my face firmly in magazines (Thanks, Burst, for totally freaking me out). Listening stations in Japan are awesome, not only cuz one can take in tons of unheard J-everything, but the English-language music promoted overseas differs significantly from what is end-capped at retailers stateside. So you hear tons of new shit.

Anyhow, I stood rocking the then-new debut by prog-metallists Sikth, thinking it was suspiciously wimpy and not proggy at all. And the tracks were mislabeled; the supposed fourteenth track was inaccessible! Then the dumbshit alarm in my head sounded because aw crap in my haste I'd misread the menu and had been listening to Funeral For A Friend's debut Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation (awesome cover). D'oh.

Gamblers are cool because they embrace happy accidents like these, and it was in this spirit that I bought the Colin Richardson-produced album. Wholly unoriginal and packed with whiny emoisms, Casually Dressed is no masterpiece but its high points (like this and this) suggest a potential leap from the rudimentary first effort to the sophisticated sophomore outing and beyond. Well, these days that jump commonly occurs after three or four records but whatever (eg Cave In, Lamb Of God). The songwriting was strong enough to propel the stylistically retarded band into awesomeness. 

Didn't happen. 

Hours, FFAF's second album, is an imagination-free zone with an interminable slog of by-the-numbers emo-core. And the less said the better about the band's hideous third album, Tales Don't Tell Themselves, and its sailor-at-sea-as-heartbroken-emo-fag metaphor that sucks at the album's outset and spurs self-mutilation by the midway point. What a waste of producers Terry Date and Gil Norton, respectively. 

Here we are at the fourth album and the situation is dire. The band seems set for a lofty statement with the forthcoming Memory And Humanity (awful cover above). Check out the dull, flavorless singles here and here. Squandered potential, man. Drat.

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