Funeral for a Friend

This summer do your part to reverse the tide of American cultural imperialism: Buy this young Welsh screamo band's full-length debut and blast it the next time you feel like allowing Linkin Park to soothe the pain caused by your mom's not getting the breakfast cereal you really wanted. The high points on Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation offer many of the same pleasures as "One Step Closer" and "Somewhere I Belong": guitars that crunch with a careful digital sheen, precisely headstrong rhythms that demonstrate a reliance on a click track if not a drum machine, two vocalists working hard to prove who's bottling up more pain inside. (In Funeral for a Friend the extra guy, drummer Ryan Richards, doesn't rap, but instead imitates the sound of barfing up a lung while being slowly lowered into a vat of flesh-eating acid.) In fact, if you didn't know FFAF hailed from Bridgend, South Wales, you'd have no reason to believe it. "Up to my heart when I'm bleeding without you," non-lung-barfing singer Matt Davies moans in "Escape Artists Never Die," not even making an attempt to slip in an "old chap" or a mention of football or crisps. Is there a
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Mikael Wood

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