Under Review: Fucked Up – David Comes To Life

Artistic expression can come in all shapes and sizes. Some folks paint, some write poetry and some form bands. Even within those divisions are further factions: some form bands with flutes, some with choirs, and some form bands called Fucked Up. The Toronto-based art punks have been gaining critical acclaim over the past few years for their aggressive yet accessible sound. Even those who had followed the band since the days of their ultra-DIY 7” singles couldn’t have imagined the scale of the group’s ambition. Now in their tenth year as a band, Fucked Up have unleashed what could easily be described as their masterwork. David Comes To Life is an 18-track, nearly 80 minute opera that unfolds with surprising grace. Once you get past the sluggish opening instrumental “Let Her Rest,” David Comes To Life does just that. The main characters, David and Veronica, are introduced in “Queen Of Hearts,” and the tragic story is underway.

The amount of enjoyment you’ll get from David Comes To Life is directly proportional to how much you can stand the thunderous screams of frontman Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham. After all, Fucked Up are a punk band, though the new songs show off an unusually strong influence of classic rock. “Running On Nothing,” in particular, sneaks in subtle references to Jackson Browne and CCR. The story of David Comes To Life, like most rock operas, is complicated and obliquely described in the lyrics. Evidently, David, about whom many of Fucked Up’s older songs had been written, spends his time laboring in a light bulb factory (hence the cover art). He falls for Veronica, a political vigilante, but recoils into depression once he learns of her death in a terrorist plot. There are plenty of comparisons to be drawn to current world events, but David Comes To Life is an ultimately timeless tale.

Joining the abrasive growls of Pink Eyes are vocalists with more melodic styles. Philly-based drawler Kurt Vile and CultsMadeline Follin provide refreshing counterpoints, and stripped-down arrangements from guitarist Mike “10,000 Marbles” Haliechek offer respite from the album’s relentless attack. If there’s one thing about David Comes To Life that fails to impress, it’s the overall lack of variety from song to song. Once the main themes have been established, the band only rarely deviates from it. Fucked Up certainly can’t be accused of losing energy at any point on the album, as David’s rebirth in the final act mirrors his storytellers’ own unflappability. Mature, optimistic and refined aren’t words you would usually use to describe a band whose very name is taboo, but Fucked Up have transcended their own defenses to produce one hell of an impressive, exhaustive record.

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~ by E. on July 27, 2011.

One Response to “Under Review: Fucked Up – David Comes To Life”

  1. Thanks, good review, great album.

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