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The Golden Age of Knowhere
Funeral Party The Golden Age of Knowhere
Released 21 January 2011
Producer Lars Stalfors, David Corcos
Label RCA
Length 41:17
Genre Alternative, indie rock
Website www.funeralpartymusic.com
40

"The past was yours
But the future’s mine
You’re all out of time..."

Thus spake a young Ian Brown, to the thrilling and uncompromising music of 'She Bangs the Drums'. This is the attitude that holds so many in thrall to rock music. Like Oasis in their heyday, or The Sex Pistols during their brief but blistering collusion with John Lydon, rock music can sound like the underdog as victor. Think of some of the most enduring rock music and you’ll see how much of it was made by people struggling against the poor hand they were dealt with at birth. The Stone Roses were destined for the sink estates of inner city Manchester. John Lydon, born of immigrant Irish parents in a hostile London (his autobiography No Irish, No Blacks, No dogs reminds us of just how hostile) was destined to be a truck driver like his father; if he was lucky. Led Zeppelin may have lived like mediaeval princes, but they didn’t start out that way; the sons of the Black Country working class at the demise of industry. As were Black Sabbath. Nirvana didn’t just emerge from the underground punk scene in Seattle; they emerged from the listless logging towns of Aberdeen, Washington.

All of which cherry-picking hints at the drive of great rock music being a desire to trump the class system. No amount of hard work would have landed a truck-driving Lydon, a tree-felling Kurt Cobain or a factory-working Ozzy Osborne their fame and millions. Their music did that. They gave fate the slip, propelled by what Morrissey (another immigrant’s son) would call ‘the pleasure of saying what you mean ’.  Or as Lydon sang with Public Image Limited: "Anger is an energy".

If the thrill of rock music is the thrill of the triumph of the underdog, a revolutionary thrill, what thrill can be experienced from groups like Funeral Party? The clever-clever title (...knowhere) and references to the music scene in New York and Los Angeles, lacks the snarling passion of rock music. Where is the vicarious thrill of trumping fate that addicts a rock fan to their artist’s oeuvre? The essentially Blue Collar fantasy that rock stars presented in the past cannot be repeated by much of modern rock music. And the reason is simple:

Funeral Party and their ilk, imitate rather than generate: The middle class aping the working class (skewered by Jarvis Cocker on more than one occasion). The content of their music (generic guitars and drums) and the petulance of their lyrics ("New York City loves to mess around with the LA sound") cannot chime with anyone outside of what one may surmise as their small, introverted world. After forty minutes of this you may very well ask “who cares?”

Would you think that after listening to Never mind The Bollocks... for the first time?

- Paul McGranaghan