Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fucked Up: David Comes to Life

     First off, if my parents are reading this, Fucked Up is the name of the group. Therefore swearing is allowed! Hailing from Toronto, the sextet play a form of hardcore punk, and back in 2003 released one of my favourite EPs 'Police'. If you're looking for a repeat of those short bursts of straight forward and furiously angry rock though, you're in for a surprise. Not that Fucked Up haven't shifted around sonically before, but 'David Comes to Life' could be considered radically different. It's a concept album. That's right. A punk. Rock. Concept album. On the one hand, I'm glad the group are trying something new, but for me, it just doesn't work. The story behind the lp is unwieldy and complicated, and by trying to squash it all into the record, the band lose the simplicity punk rock should, in my eyes, try to emulate. Not that there aren't good songs, but instead of getting geared up, I find this album a labour to listen through, and frankly, a labour to love.
      That doesn't mean there aren't spots of brilliance that shine throughout the record. The instrumentation is competent, and the production, recording and concepts are all thought out well. The problem I have is mainly with the way the band use these ingredients. The mellow moments are in my opinion ruined by the vocalists screams, due to his lacking ability, much like WU LYF's singer, to create dynamics within his voice. The lyrics he sings, however, aren't half bad, filled with gorgeous imagery and details I can't help but adore. Basically, if the story had been shortened and simplified, then I can imagine myself not loving, but enjoying this more than I actually do. An overworked concept is this album's downfall, sucking out the punk simplicity and energetic speed that these eighteen tracks so desperately need in order to conform to my ideals of the genre.
     Those complaints though, are with the overall impression the album gave, and within that, there are tracks that I can put on repeat and listen to over and over again. 'Queen of Hearts' is one such song. Coming straight in with a fist full of aggression after the loud climax of 'Let Her Rest', this track powers along with some outstanding guitar. Being the first time when the vocals are present, they blow you away, and the passion far out does that of the female singer that comes in throughout the four minutes. The female voice therefore feels very unemotive and bleak in comparison, even though they are a much needed element to the concept. 'Running On Nothing' has slightly toned down screams and more understandable lyrics, making it another favourite of mine, with 'Ship Of Fools' and 'A Little Death' coming in close second with their drums and catchy melodies. All tracks manage to retain an aggression though, which unfortunately gets annoying and repetitive by the end of the record. I'm sorry I have to keep coming back to the concept, but if it was shorter and less complicated, there would be less tracks, with many of them probably gaining a simplistic edge that none really have at the moment.
     Listening to this album over and over again has been a complicated and head-ache inducing journey, which has probably been reflected in this complicated review! Simply put, if you want some simple punk rock with all the appropriate aggression, then avoid this. If you want a lengthy and repetitive trek, with a few fantastic views along the way, give Fucked Up's full length lp 'David Comes to Life' a listen. I'm just not promising anything.