Familiar Fun From FFAF
Ahead of their third album release in May, 'Tales Don't Tell Themselves', the Welsh rockers have jumped onto the compilation bandwagon that is the 'Back to the Bus' series. These compilations are the slightly dubious, weedier playmates to the 'Back to Mine' line, aiming to offer an insight into a band's musical choices and inspirations whilst on tour. This is the third in a series which has previously taken us on tour with Paddingtons and Babyshambles.
FFAF Drummer Ryan Richards, goes on record as saying 'Back to the Bus' is basically the soundtrack to Funeral for a Friend's touring life, and as you can see it's a fairly mixed bag," - he's not wrong there as the album tracks span a wide selection of genres, not that this is necessarily a bad thing. It gives us an idea not only of what music makes up FFAF's listening preferences, but also what may have influenced the valley boys' music itself.
Much of the album leans on the familiar, with well-known, almost cult tracks, such as Queen's 'Don't stop me now', Van Halen's 'Ain't talking about love' and Black Sabbath's 'Black Sabbath', but there is the odd surprise too, such as the album closer, Johnny Cash's 'Folsom Prison Blues'. Newer alt-rock also gets a decent look-in with tracks from the likes of Faith No More and compatriots Dub War and some good old head-banging metal from favourites Megadeth and Pantera.
There's certainly two ways of approaching the album: if you're an FFAF fan then you may be interested in approaching it as an insight into the band and what has shaped their songs. To back this up, there is an exclusive live track from a recent sell-out gig and a chat with the band about life on the road. However, it's also a mix album you can enjoy in its own right, even given, or perhaps because of, its slightly bizarre, eclectic blend of genres, whatever your views on FFAF.
There's not much of a voyage of musical discovery going on here, it's music of the careworn teddybear variety - well-loved and well-known tunes. The tunes do not necessarily sit that comfortably together at first listening, but as a variety-packed compilation album, it does the job. That said, if you're looking for FFAF-type music, this isn't necessarily the one to buy.