Review : Fucked Up - Chemistry Of Common Life
AvclubQuick: Name one hardcore punk album from the past 10 years—hell, make that ever—that opens with a lilting flute solo followed by a chorus of electric guitars so dense, pealing, and overtone-rich, they could make minimalist-rock architect Rhys Chatham's neck hair stand on end. That's just the first of many moments on Fucked Up's second full-length where the Canadian band pushes hardcore beyond traditionally accepted limits of artfulness. The rest of The Chemistry Of Common Life heads even further into left field, often with staggering results: Neu!-esque motorik grooves, philosophically dense lyrics about the birth/death cycle, up to 70 simultaneous guitar tracks, and waves of Eastern percussion and melody, all powering 11 hugely textured songs that still hit as hard as a 90-second Negative Approach jam. While it's offset on a few songs by "clean" female vocals, Damian Abraham's glass-gargling roar remains the primary source of Fucked Up's visceral energy. From this point on, it'll be more exciting to see how much farther beyond gut-level the band is willing to go....full text
MusicomhFucked Up is the type of music your mother, Mary Whitehouse and the NME warned you about. This is the devil's music, screamed at you by a bald-headed fat bloke called Pink Eyes who makes Wayne Coyne look sane, Frank Gallows look like a youth worker and Les Savy Fav look like the best bet of the night to go home with.
Okay, so that last one is a lie. But the other two statements are true.
This, of course, makes Fucked Up completely and utterly amazing. On record, they sound as if they'd be even better live. Live, they almost certainly are, from the look of the photos that are allowed to be printed and the trail of destruction and wrecked studios they leave in their wake.
All of this completely lives up to the promise of a band whose existence was first revealed to this reviewer by their fellow Canadians The Tranzmitors, while the poor lads were being simultaneously interviewed and terrorised by a Camden acid casualty trying to tell them they were the best band since Flowered Up. Did he mean Fucked Up, the Canadian hardcore band, they asked? He didn't, but any band mixed up in an anecdote like that deserves to be explored. After hearing Fucked Up, you can't help but feel such experiences follow them around.
Just to screw with your head completely, between the Velvet Underground drumming, the psychedelic feedback and the screaming, there's something particularly endearing about the gentleness and almost classical influence of some of the intros. Those of both the opening track and Golden Seal leave you sure they're lulling you into a false sense of security and comfort. Any minute, they're going to break a bottle (literal or sonic) over your head again, aren't they?...full text
PrefixmagIf it isn't already, sometime in the near future, postmodernism will be as dead as David Foster Wallace. Culture, and indie rock especially, with its increasing self-conscious detachment from reality, has grown stale and has exhausted its ironic pandering. We’ve had too much shitty politics for the last eight years, and we now have an economy that’s not allowing us to take things as lightheartedly as we once did. The same scene that only a few years ago was feeding off its own cud has had it with indulgence. If Fucked Up’s The Chemistry of Common Life achieves the impact it should, we will see indie rock return to its original motif: rage.
Until very recently, rage, political disillusionment, and sincere aggression were the dominant themes in a young man’s life. In terms of today’s music world, it’s fitting that the most enraged music we’ve heard since at least the Jesus Lizard and maybe since the Sex Pistols would come from a band that only a few years ago was doing straight hardcore....full text
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