It’s amazing to see the evolution of a local band as they go from random gigs to talk show performances. I remember hearing L.A.-based Funeral Party at a local bar in East L.A. (Eastside Luv to be exact) and now the trio are touring the globe. What really attracted me to their music was their indie rock edginess that seemed to be their foundation, but could completely transform into a softer, melodic vibe for other tracks.
Made up of Chad Elliott (vocals, samples and keyboards), James Torres (guitar) and Kimo Kauhola (bass, vocals), the guys created the band after a night of drinking in a park in Whittier, CA (don’t you just love what a lil booze can do?).
It seems they haven’t lost that versatility on their 11-track, debut album The Golden Age of Knowhere. Produced by Lars Stalfors (Matt & Kim, The Mars Volta) and mixed by Dave Sardy (Band of Horses, LCD Soundsystem, Oasis), I was so ecstatic to find that a couple of tracks that I loved from their pre-fame sets were included on the album (but were enhanced, which make me fall in love with them all over again).
“Where Did It Go Wrong” is a pseudo love song that has amazing guitar riffs, catchy melodies and heart-wrenching lyrics we can all relate to. “Postcards of Persuasion” used to be a lot slower (if I recall correctly), but the more upbeat version on the album is still great and really captures longing feelings that the lyrics symbolize with beats that will capture your nerves and sway you back and forth.
“New York Moves to the Sound of L.A.” is a danceable ode to the City of Angels that has a mixture of funky beats and drum patterns with strong guitar chords…not to mention the punchy lyrics and strong vocals. Mmmmm…just as I remember it! “Car Wars” was another memorable tune I loved when they played live because of its hardcore vocals and edgy combination of guitars and drums that talks about love.
Now those were just the ones I loved before I heard the album. Some other notable tracks include the melodic “Youth & Poverty” that opens with a guitar solo before the massive drums come blazing out. The fast-paced vocals start smooth before getting pretty throaty at the chorus. Perfect for the relationship-gone-wrong theme that keeps coming up throughout the album.
The album’s title track is also a good one, with its nature sound effects that leaves you wondering if it’s going to be a softer joint or a harder one. Once you hear those fast-ass drum beats, you know what you’re in for! The song is a portal to the album’s escapist theme that also runs through some of the other tracks. “When we wrote Golden Age of Knowhere, I was reading Lord of the Flies,” Elliott says. “So I started thinking about the idea of a DIY civilization, like the world ends and the young people build everything back up from scratch.”
Funeral Party is great indie find that you’ll want to keep your eyes on cause these boys are going to go far with their music—up-tempo tunes that weave a barrage of aggressively catchy melodies, propulsive basslines, and relentless rhythms meshed with raw, throaty vocals and the band’s shouty group vocal backups. The perfect combination for musical success!
Words: Kristie Bertucci
Artist: Funeral Party
Album: The Golden Age of Knowhere
Label: RCA Music Group
Release Date: March 29, 2011