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Lily of the Valley
Funeral Suits Lily of the Valley
Released 1 June 2012
Producer Stephen Street
Label Model Citizen
Length 43:33
Genre Alternative
Website funeralsuits.com

First things first: Funeral Suits sound really like somebody else. You know when you hear a band, and they sound really familiar, but you can’t quite put your finger on who it is they resemble? That’s Funeral Suits for me. Now, you can view this in a couple of ways. It could be that this particular group are a wee bit lacking in identity or originality, or on the other hand, they’ve nailed down a sound that is both immediate and accessible without this coming across a compromise. Happily, Lily of the Valley, to my mind, falls into the latter category.

Funeral Suits’ debut album has been a long time in gestation, with the Dublin quartet making their first tentative steps on the scene as far back as 2008, when they landed a support slot with Franz Ferdinand. Lily of the Valley was recorded, mastered and ready for consumption as far back as January 2011, when, somewhat abruptly, things came to a standstill, the result being that we are only now getting our hands on the band’s full length offering. Rather than hint at trouble in the camp, the long period of hiatus has, according to frontman Brian James, been beneficial, allowing the band to both progress musically and build upon a steady platform of hype which has seen them championed by Zane Lowe and Xfm in the UK and performing at some high profile festivals, including SXSW and Reading-Leeds.

Lily of the Valley is notable for its juxtaposing of electronica and guitars, creating a hybrid of post-rock, hardcore and danceable, accessible indie. Opener 'Mary’s Revenge' growls into life menacingly, not unlike a space age Deftones, while debut single 'Colour Fade's gothic funk is reminiscent of long forgotten ‘90s anthem 'You’re Not Alone' by Olive (seriously, YouTube it). In fact, there is a very definite mid-to-late-nineties feel to much of this album, from the strident Britpop of 'We Only Attack Ourselves' to the nu-metal hints of 'Machines Too'. Producer Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur) has clearly had an influence here, tidily merging styles and sounds to create an album that is confident in its influences without coming across forced or contrived.

According to the band, album two is almost finished, which suggests Funeral Suits are eager to make up for lost time, and, on the evidence of Lily of the Valley, a confident and engaging debut, it will be very interesting to see what direction they take next.

- Ken O’Meara