Fucked Up – David Comes To Life


Artist

Album

David Comes To Life

Label

Matador Records

Year

2011

Genre

For Fans Of

Refused - Fugazi

Summary

A true punk rock masterpiece.

Rating

97 / 100

Why is this review a few months late? Put simply, it’s because Fucked Up’s latest opus “David Comes To Life” is an undertaking. With 4 acts, 18 songs and clocking in at no less than 77 and a bit minutes, this record honestly takes months to give a serious crack. Following up 2008’s “The Chemistry of Modern Life” which saw their profile catapulted into the mainstream, their third album is ambitious in every respect. As a rock opera, it tells the tale of David: a man works at a light bulb factory in Thatcherite England (already a shitty plight) and falls in love with Veronica who within a matter of songs, dies. Then he’s framed for her murder and goes on a soul-searching quest. Basically.

Despite delivering a huge ‘fuck you’ to the mainstream press at any given opportunity and insisting on putting out a plethora of hardly-marketable (largely vinyl) singles, EPs and b-sides, Fucked Up have somehow managed, with seemingly relative ease, to be the most widely liked band that has ever been labelled hardcore. This album truly shows why. Combining soaring guitar melodies and catchy indie riffs with punk rock urgency and Damien “Pink Eyes” Abraham’s distinctive howl probably shouldn’t work on paper. But it does, and better than ever before on their third studio album.

David Comes to Life” is at once Fucked Up’s least and most accessible material to date. While way more radio friendly than their debut “Hidden World”, its sheer length and scale make the album challenging. Greater use of female vocals compliments new found lashings of instrumental melody and ensures to the catchiness of many of the tracks. The lead single “Queen of Hearts” is an uplifting number which tells of David meeting Veronica and is completed by indie outfit Cults Madeline Follin, while Jennifer Castle’s contribution on “One More Night” has a seductive, siren-like quality. Abraham’s lyrics are as impressively clever and poetic as ever, which of course generally need to be read to be appreciated because his scream is by-and-large unintelligible.

Opening with the dreamy “Let Her Rest”, Fucked Up maintain a sense of anticipation throughout the CD. On “The Other Shoe” we’re warned of David’s impending loss as Pink Eyes yelps “it can’t be comfortable when the whole thing’s about to fall”. The philosophical “Turn The Season” is one of the best tracks on the album from its spine-tingling, poignant theme to its sing-along chorus. The open strumming of “Truth I Know” gives it the feel of an airy indie anthem while “Life In Paper” boasts some fairly epic lead guitar prowess. “I Was There” is another stand out track, which is a finer specimen of Fucked Up’s delicious concoction of the grittier, lo-fi hardcore sounds of earlier records with climactic lead guitar and jazzy percussion. The progressive, layered finale “Lights Go Up” in a sense sums up “David Comes To Life” perfectly. Melody-laden guitar hooks and great lyrics are coupled with the abrasiveness of its punkier parts and Pink Eyes’ vocals. This is a band that has bravely and successfully pushed the envelope, producing the kind of album which (for good reason) tops album of the year lists from Blunt to NME.

Conclusion

Fucked Up’s third album “David Comes To Life” is the most complete work a punk band, or even band in general, could possibly create. Canada’s finest hardcore outfit have successfully and stylishly pulled off a legitimately cool ‘rock opera’, a term which generally makes most people cringe to their core. The perfect marriage of pop melodies and unapologetic heaviness, of intelligent poetry and punk rock sonic chaos on “David Comes To Life", is testament to the fact that Fucked Up are now the only band in the world who would look at home playing a sweaty basement or sold-out arena.

Tracklisting

1.Let Her Rest
2. Queen of Hearts 
3. Under My Nose
4. The Other Shoe
5. Turn the Season
6. Running On Nothing
7. Remember My Name
8. Slanted Tone
9. Serve Me Right
10. Truth I Know
11. Life In Paper
12. Ship of Fools
13. A Little Death
14. I Was There
15. Inside a Frame
16. The Recursive Girl
17. One More Night
18. Lights Go Up

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