Album Review: Funeral Homes – ‘Lavender House’

Posted: by The Editor

Starting out as, merely, a high school, acoustic bedroom hobby, Melbourne, Florida based project, Funeral Homes, has been practicing their craft for years. Dropping their debut EP just last spring through Lonely Ghost Records, April Showers Bring May Flowers was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential this project had hiding below. With the release of their debut album, Lavender House, one starts to see the genre-bending talent that Funeral Homes brings to the table- playing off of the overlapping influences of shoegaze, indie rock, slowcore, and pop. 

Lavender House reads as a narrative led by the lead singer’s voice. An album that journeys through themes of the past and moving on from that era of one’s life, it documents an impressive sonic landscape, pushing the limits on how many genres can seamlessly fit without feeling clunky. The seven-track record was Frankenstein-ed together through exploration of different sounds. The finished product is the culmination of the best from that experimentation, and it sits as the proudest piece of work that the band has created.

Funeral Homes’ wastes no time displaying the breadth and depth of their talents, as opener, “Cowboy Emoji” instantly steps into the fields of twangy, alternative country. As the singer’s voice crackles through, one discovers that their vocals evoke raw emotion and vulnerability, especially as you hear them murmur the lines “that love was meant to fade, so don’t be afraid.” The song goes on to reminiscence about the past, stating that sometimes it’s good to travel back. Following track cuts direction and steers towards the hot fuzz of early 2000’s alt-rock. Arguably the most energetic you see from the project, “C Thru U” begs to be played in a live-setting. The chorus’ ability to flesh out a full band keeps the listener hooked, and the repeated verses, “I wanted to see it through. I just wanted to see through you” overtop scorching guitars is enough for an instant replay. 

But, it’s in the palette cleanser of Lavender House that pulls the listener out from the comfort of easy-listening bedroom rock. “DRK” thrashes itself in between the middle of the record, offering a sludge-core of heavy reverb that shouldn’t work, especially not on a record that stays on such a low warble. But, Funeral Homes does, and they do it so effortlessly, making it one of the most fascinating record change-ups of 2019. Especially since right after, “Anything” mozies its way in, contrasting the prior song with modest mouse inspired electronic production. It acts as an ode to a lover, a soft ballad that cools the record down. 

It’s the closer, though, that stands the strongest among the rest. The longest track, clocking in at over five-minutes, it follows in the footsteps of “Anytime” in foundation. The chillwave aspect of the song lulls the listener into a dream, as Funeral Homes provides its strongest lyrical content. The way the vocals wrap around sentences like, “Do you ever feel weak? Do you ever get sleep?” and “I’d clean for you, I’d die for you,” it’s as if the audience has a front-seat view of his melancholy. Even the seemingly tender moniker, “Hibiscus leaf” that is directed at a portrait of the past, feels colder and more weighted with each passing verse.

Funeral Homes’ Lavender House is a solid body of work from beginning to end. Being able to successfully incorporate various styles and genres of sound into one seven-track record is no easy feat, yet this project churns it out like it’s their speciality. Dipping and diving across landscapes aiken to Death Cab for Cutie and Slowdive, the record never grows stale and only draws interest the longer it plays. A promising debut that should be as exciting to release as it is to listen. And, trust me, it’s a very exciting listen. 

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Hope Ankley / @Hope_ankleknee

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