Thu Oct 9 2008
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
What’s the big effing deal? In a review of a Williamsburg show late last year, our city’s prim Old Gray Lady ran an entire piece on Canadian hardcore troupe Fucked Up without once using the band’s name. The mercurial sextet hasn’t taken the Times’ omission seriously enough to relabel itself for commercial purposes, and its new album, The Chemistry of Common Life, is anything but ordinary. Imposing frontman Pink Eyes’s guttural vocals are as infectious as the virulent ocular condition that he’s named for. He and the rest of his pseudonymous crew—10,000 Marbles, Gulag, Young Governor, Mustard Gas and Mr. Jo—bring a symphonic complexity to a traditionally chugging, monochromatic genre.
Like the now-defunct avant-hardcore Blood Brothers (whose pugilistic polyphony comes to mind listening to Chemistry’s first track, “Son the Father”), Fucked Up has carved its own post-punk niche, one that allows it to successfully transition from surprisingly catchy, hook-laden songs to ambient tracks that might have oozed from some mystical Icelandic hot spring.
While this album definitely marks a musical progression from the band’s angry, anarcho-syndicalist dawn, it does lack slightly for a frenzy-inducing anthem, like the one that anchored Fucked Up’s first full-length, Hidden World. (The song in question, “Baiting the Public,” has been known to cause minor riots). Despite the ambivalence this lack of overt antagonism may foster among some fans, in the end it seems a fair trade-off for a record this solid.
Fucked Up plays Bowery Ballroom Wed 15.
Buy The Chemistry of Common Life now on BN.com