The Funeral – Birth EP

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.