Album Review: Funeral Advantage “Nectarine”
Posted: by The Editor
Forget Punxsutawney Phil – to kick off spring 2019, Funeral Advantage is gracing us with a bubbly sophomore full length album titled Nectarine. While their 2017 EP Please Help Me was an anthem for those seeking solace in heartbreak and uncontrollable change in their life, Nectarine shows growth not only in musicianship but also on a personal level, in that we must accept what has changed and learn to cope with it and move forward. Not only do we hear this in Tyler’s criticism of his decisions and the perplexities that arise in the lyrics throughout the record, but also in a noticeable mood shift from the instrumentals on nearly every track Nectarine has to offer.
The album beings with “Rinsed”, and right in the opening we’re greeted with the ambience of washy guitars and a delicate beat playing behind it. The calm introduction foreshadows the iminent explosion of digital delay and diaphanous vocals, followed by acoustic laden chords strummed underneath to fill it all out. While Tyler performs with a full band, Funeral Advantage becomes a solo concept during the writing process. And when you dig below all the feel good synth pop and groovy bass lines (Peach Nectarine is a get up and dance-worthy jam) you’ll find that Nectarine is a culmination of Tyler’s desire to make an imprint, some defining creative output he’ll be proud to be remembered by.
We know all too well what usually becomes of bands in this genre; they box themselves into this very niche style of Joy Division worship and then they can’t escape the tropes they’ve become. But these seven songs are unique – the drums are soft and subdued even at their heaviest (Bad Magnet), leaving room for the rest of the instrumentation to take the lead. Tyler’s vocals process through compressors and reverb and almost feel like they’re purposefully being restrained to not be the forefront, but rather accentuate the guitar melodies. Everything is conscious enough of everything else happening that what you actually hear is a perfect balance. I don’t feel like he’s trying to be anyone but himself.
Funeral Advantage live in Brighton, MA (Photo by Kyle Musser)
Being yourself doesn’t also mean you can’t grow though, and while Funeral Advantage is known for their post rock instrumentals and cascading crystal guitars, Black House puts that all in the backseat and begins with a synth lead that shows just how much Tyler’s time performing with House of Harm has bled into his own writing.
“There’s nothing left so break it off
or I’ll force you on a different path.
Back when you would cope with painting this house black.
So I burned it all.
It’s hard to see you like this but I cannot help you right now”
Funeral Advantage’s instrumentals can be deceptively uplifting, covering up the fact that a lot of the lyrical content is deep rooted in Tyler’s interpersonal issues, and struggling to objectively search for resolutions. Whether that leads him down a road with a dead end or an endless freeway is uncertain. But what we do have is tangible proof that self reflection and retrospection can create something truly beautiful.
I truly hope Nectarine ushers in a new era of experimentation within all of the adjacent genres Funeral Advantage brushes on. There’s some pop, a little post punk, and a lot of lighthearted alt rock working to piece the album together to make this album what it is. Take their advice, as heard on “Stone Around Your Neck” and don’t make the same mistakes your parents did. Take risks, have fun, and listen to Nectarine to usher in this warm weather.
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal
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