Shifts In Sound… by Mark McConville

Mark McConville, Music, Non-fiction, Punk Noir Magazine

In this piece I have written about four bands that changed their sound fully. And you know what, it isn’t always for the best.

Funeral for a friend

Funeral For A Friend – Tales Don’t Tell Themselves.

Welsh act Funeral For A Friend were known for their brash songs of blood, dramatic sequences of events, and heartbreak. Their debut album Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation had all these traits and more. In comes 2007, a year where their brand of hard rock takes a dive into unknown territory. Gone was the screaming tension, a trademark expression which laced prior records, and in came subtlety and great imagination.

Tales Don’t Tell Themselves was a statement that the band could lower the tone. This came as a shock to their hardened faithful, fans that followed this outfit through the scorched emo days. Not only did it divide opinion, there’s a rumor stating the band made the record to keep their label happy.

The album as a whole doesn’t enforce greatness. But, there’s songs on it that provide moments of tenderness and openness. Lead singer Matt Davies shows off his voice in a soft tone. Also, lyrically the band experimented, levelling off their angst ridden poetry for a more refined bout of verses.

These verses saved the album from being ridiculed wholeheartedly. As a collection, it fell under the radar. Worthy, it may not be fully, but at times it generates goosebumps. Opener, Into Oblivion is a scintillating drive through broken memories. A triumphant starting point. Melodic Walk Away, dazzles as a heart-puller, but could be too sugar-coated for fans. Melody pulsates through this record, and many said it appeared too often.

Overall, Tales Don’t Tell Themselves wasn’t a blockbuster. But, what it is, is a sweeter compendium, a contrast to the hard-hitters that came before it.

deaf havana

Deaf Havana – Fools And Worthless Liars.

Within their template Deaf Havana created raucous scream driven songs which were unapologetic. Their debut Meet Me Half Way, At Least was released in 2009 and didn’t spark a groundbreaking response. It may have been savored by the post-hard-core collective, but its sound lacked fluidity. The remarkable thing is, the band released their second album Fools And Worthless Liars two years later, and the shift in direction perplexed fans and critics.

As we know, second records can be hard to connect to. But, Fools And Worthless Liars came as a completely different and conceptual contribution. Screams were replaced by clean vocals, and lyrically the record pulled on sharper insights and past mistakes. Songs such as Youth In Retrospect, Anemophobia, and I’m A Bore Mostly all struck a chord. It is a miraculous change in sound. Sweeping guitars were still importantly driven into the album, but gone were those harsh bellows.


Paramore – After Laughter.

Tennessee music darlings Paramore came into the light in 2005 with their debut All We Know Is Falling. After that, their seminal release Riot landed in a groundbreaking fashion in 2007. This record put the band on the map. Pop punk gold, it revolutionized the genre. Roll on 2017, Paramore completely altered their sound. Above it all, they departed the pop punk persona and drafted themselves into pop dramatics. This caused some friction, but many fans welcomed the change. Riot had rock charms with angst ridden lyrics flowing throughout its bloodline. On the flipside, After Laughter carried too much baggage. Lead singer Hayley Williams, raised the stakes, but her unique vocals couldn’t raise the bar.

Many loved it and many loathed it.

Fall_Out_Boy_-_ManiaFall Out Boy – Mania.

What can be said about Fall Out Boy? Well, they were a major band who built a pop punk framework, a catalyst for many bands that were starting out. With their debut Under The Cork Tree, they embarked on taking on the music world. Piece by piece, they have unfortunately, hit a dead end in terms of creating sincere scores. 2007’s Infinity On High was a collection of great tracks, but after it dropped so did the pop punk banner. 2018’s Mania LP is a record which sounds like an act that have rubbed out their pop punk trademark, for a life on the highest pedestal. Money talks, so the material doesn’t have to be stellar, and Mania is as mediocre as they come.