Friday, June 03, 2011

Fucked Up: "David Comes To Life" (album review)

Hardcore punk has its time and place.  But it will only get you so far.  Polaris Prize winners Fucked Up were obviously aware of this as they embarked on creating David Comes To Life, their ambitious new concept record (out June 7th).

The album, a rock opera in four acts, follows the dystopian love story between the title character David, and Veronica.  After the mood-altering instrumental opener, cleverly titled "Intro", we get "Queen of Hearts", a track that sets the scene for the narrative.

There is far more melody on this album.  Surprisingly, it doesn't come at the expense of the punk rock.  Despite sharp hooks on tracks like "One More Night", there remains no compromising on the buzzsaw guitars or frenetic energy.

This album marks the first time we hear anything approaching anthems from Fucked Up.  Songs like "Running On Nothing" boast big, bold guitar riffs, while "Remember My Name" feels like it could explode on just about any chord (that song in particular bearing a sonic resemblance to "Baba O'Reilly").

The standout feature may very well be the vocal interplay between Damian Abraham and female vocalists Jennifer Castles and Madeline Follin.  Abraham's signature snarl is juxtaposed with the lovely vocals of the women, creating a dynamic that is as compelling as it is jarring.

Clocking in at nearly an hour and twenty minutes, David Comes To Life can be a little bit too much to digest in one sitting.  That's a minor quibble considering the strength of these songs as well as the overall package.

To sum it all up in one easily digested soundbite: David Comes To Life is Fucked Up's Zen Arcade.

Best tracks: "The Other Shoe", "Remember My Name"

Track listing for David Comes To Life:
  • Intro
  • Queen of Hearts
  • Under My Nose
  • The Other Shoe
  • Turn the Season
  • Running On Nothing
  • Remember My Name
  • A Slated Tone
  • Serve Me Right
  • Truth I Know
  • Life In Paper
  • Ship of Fools
  • A Little Death
  • I Was There
  • Inside a Frame
  • The Recursive Girl
  • One More Night
  • Lights Go Up
Fucked Up's website

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