The Funeral

Birth E.P. (Velvet Ant Records)

The latest from the Funeral is a good news/bad news/good news situation. The good news is that the trio, which sprang from the corpse of a Texas combo called Belu, exhibits excellent taste in outside material by covering Gang of Four's "Damaged Goods." The bad news is that the new rendition can't compare to the original. And the good news is that the three-piece's own compositions are more than strong enough to compensate.

Guitarist/vocalist Adam Marez, drummer Brandon Gray and sound manipulator Peter Black, aka DJ Aztec, are a tight, grimy unit that's got plenty of range. Take "Piss," a splashy opener that's danceable in a completely different way than the brooding, synth-heavy "Big Shot" and the floor mix of "Falter," which retrofits Marez's theatrically creepy singing with a labyrinthine arrangement highlighted by grinding riffs, nagging keyboard rhythms and high-hat stings that leave a mark.

Don't leave the Funeral for dead, because Birth is a new beginning.

 
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