Charlotte NC’s Funeral Chic may have begun life as a crusty hardcore outfit, but their new release Roman Candle has seen them reborn as a straight-shooting dirty rock and roll unit, with the swagger of peak-period Beasts Of Bourbon getting sticky with Amen at their nihilistic best. The bruising, ‘fuck all ya’ll’ sonic attack is now laced with some of the slickest, down at the heels, dirty blues rock I’ve heard in a couple of years.
So, I’ve gotta say upfront, in a band fulla nasty players who’s sociopathic intent is just about fully realised, frontman Dustin Carpenter’s brutal, throat-ripping pipes ice the cake in the most hellish of ways, and bring to mind the insanity of Laughing Hyena’s John Brannon at his most unhinged, although I’d say Carpenter is probably more of a genuine ‘singer’ than Brannon.
Kicking off with Made In America, the tune is a caustically ironic assault on the ‘American Dream’. This tune is a sucker punch to your psyche as well as all your beliefs, and caps it off by stealing your wallet AND your stash! Spit And Crawl gets out on the slab and flat-out fuckin’ just floors it. Nothing more to say ‘cept hang onto your hat. And your glass eye.
Like a crazed hillbilly running an MS2400 Car Shredder with a gutful of extremely suspect moonshine, Satisfaction lashes out with a ripping pace and a nod to the blackened hardcore roots of Funeral Chic, before drifting into a moody jazz jam with some wailing sax. But this ain’t a Steve McKay style skronk; this is total Johnny Hodges/noir sax, replevined from some greasy southern voodoo scene giving it some smoke to go with the burn of the tune. Ain’t Going Nowhere is another straight rocker, with some chugging riffs, bad vibes and ripping lead breaks.
laced with some of the slickest, down at the heels, dirty blues rock I’ve heard in a couple of years…
From the crunching bass ’n’ drum intro (as a bassist myself, I love hearing bassists who understand the benefits of keeping it on the straight and narrow!) to the wailing guitar, Lose is a tale of ‘someone’ having to lose and with a nod to Meatloaf thrown in for good measure. Built To Love is on the gentler side of the rock spectrum and the band chops up the writing style a bit on this one. But it sure as fuck isn’t a love song, unless of course, your name is Frank Booth… and Born To Kill hits some neat biker-rock vibes.
Last Line Blues coulda just been Harry Dean rolling out some simple chords from the latest chain gang he’s on and lamented getting caught for his latest crime. Wrapping things up is a crazed version (??) of the Roky Erikson classic Two-Headed Dog, and whilst I dig the take on it, I was more than a bit curious over just why it was chosen as a cover.
So, from start to finish, Funeral Chic don’t waste time fucking around with subtleties, rather, they are just very direct in their communications. With the song styles ranging from dirty r ‘n’ r stomps to sub-hardcore mayhem, you’re really gonna get what’s coming to you with Roman Candle. Fans of good ol’ fashioned AmRep/Touch And Go-style noise-rock should dig the fuck outta this album.
Scribed by: El Jefe