When it comes to making a record, Fucked Up are deadly serious...
Let’s face it: when you name your band Fucked Up, you’re inviting a certain amount of preconceptions, the most likely being that you may be slightly unhinged; something which the Toronto-based sextet certainly play up to in their live show. When it comes to making a record, however, Fucked Up are deadly serious. It’s been well reported that their typical recording process will often lead to blows and, if frontman Damian Abraham is to be believed, the sessions for ‘David Comes To Life’ have left the band so broken that the cracks in their personal relations are still yet to heal. Slap on the headphones, wrap your lugholes around this absolute monster of a project, and you’ll see why.
Essentially, in purely sonic terms, this album is perfect; the attention to detail in the execution of every snare crack, every guitar tone and every inimitably enunciated, rasping bellow is, quite frankly, stunning. Admittedly, the overall sound is broadly what we’ve come to expect, or as Abraham succinctly puts it “it’s The Undertones, with Poison Idea vocals and Pink Floyd ambitions.” Accurate as this statement is, it’s also overly reductive, for what Fucked Up have done here is to take what they’ve been honing for the past 10 years and go one better, adding lush female vocals and celestial, electronica-inspired effects in an effort to constantly titillate and surprise.
Most strikingly, their intriguingly complex triple guitar interplay has reached sublime levels of intricacy, with each of the three contributing subtly distinct, exquisitely complimentary parts to create an intensely immersive whole. They may reel you in with a driving central riff, but rather than just stretch it out for a couple of minutes and get all shouty over the top, they proceed to hammer it home with bloody-minded intent, fleshing it out in ever more expansive forms until the auditory experience eclipses anything you might imagine from a hardcore band. Still, the music itself is only half the story, given that what we have here is a full-on rock opera; a conceptual journey in four acts, with well-defined, but confusingly interlinked characters, which painstakingly get to grips with the real heavy shit: life and death, love and hate, and the dichotomous relationships between them.
Details of the narrative are starting to become clear through the deeply poetic lyrics posted on the album’s dedicated website, although, as always with Fucked Up, they don’t make it easy to figure out exactly what they’re getting at. This, of course, only serves to make ‘David Comes To Life’ even more appealing. In an age when we’re repeatedly informed that the album format is dead and that download singles are the new consumer model, Fucked Up have concocted something which requires a considerable investment of time and effort to truly understand, but which rewards the listener’s patience a hundredfold. Then again, fans of immediacy won’t be leaving empty-handed, because whether you’re aiming to kick the shit out of a raging pit or simply kick back in your slippers, ‘David Comes To Life’ has it all.