“Sun rises above the factory but the rays don’t make it to the street.
Through the gates come the employees, beaten down and dragging their feet.
A group of lefties hand out pamphlets to the workers coming in.
For two people on the pavement life will never be the same again.”
And so begins this epic rock musical yarn from the gargantuan post-hardcore / punk-gaze conglomerate that is the aptly name band, Fucked Up. This is a confusing record. I’m sure I won’t be the first to say that this potential magnum opus seems as titanic and fleeting as it does intelligent and visionary. Did this down and out factory worker fall in love with his soulmate he was predestined to murder? Was it his fault? Did he even do it? Its fascinating to try to follow the lyrics of this lofty narrative. One may find this tale much more interesting than I and if so, more power to them. Regardless of the lackluster cohesion to the story, the music is, as always, gripping, compelling and consistently enticing. Founding member and lead guitarist Mike Haliechuk does a gorgeous job of layering his guitar tracks, his zest for production obvious throughout all three of the bands albums.
Say what you will about Damian Abraham’s vocals (most people love them or hate them) but I think they work in the context of this band, especially when paired with vocalist Jennifer Castle and with the guest appearance here by Madeline Follin from the band Cults.
The dense power chords exchanged between Haliechuk and rhythm guitarist Ben Cook work every track into a frenzy with Jonah Falco’s insistently punctual and powerful drumming. This is a band that is so syncopated I imagine their studio sessions to be finished in a minimum amount of takes, as long as they can get along anyway.
Hardcore doesn’t seem to be remotely in sight as the introductory track of David Comes to Life melodically lulls us into the epic narrative of the latest outing by Fucked Up. Over three minutes of lovely layered guitar tease repetitively through ‘Let Her Rest’. Then we are abruptly launched into token sounds we know and love with ‘Queen of Hearts’.
The eighteen tracks and eighty minutes presented here don’t hold a candle to 2008’s The Chemistry of Common Life but I truly admire the tenacity of this outfit to push on toward such a lofty venture. There are many emo elements in the subject matter but I can’t deny the few outbreaks of chill bumps I got when hearing some of the genuinely romantic lyrics. Its growing on me and I think if you give it a chance you’ll feel the same.