Album Review

David Comes to Life

David Comes to Life

by Fucked Up


Matador
7 / 10
17th June, 2011

Reviewed by Ricardo Kerr


Punk rock is generally displayed in short and abrupt bursts of impassioned sound, rarely hanging around long enough to tax the patience and endurance of the listener. Canada’s Fucked Up have never been known to play by the rules and their latest album, David Comes To Life, is yet another bizarre milestone in their already unusual career. When your handle is as confrontational as ‘Fucked Up’ then what about you is going to be conventional anyway? David is a concept album presented as a 77 minute marathon (twice the length of many other punk albums) divided into four thematic acts. Story aside the music is pure punk angst; filled with roaring guitars, brutishly tactless vocals, and acidic intent. By the end of it you feel positively corrosive.

‘Let Her Rest’ starts the album with three minutes of feedback and electric ambience before ‘Queen of Hearts’ starts things off proper. You are glad for the long intro since it is the only respite and breathing room you are likely to get. Singer Pink Eyes does what he does best: holler, howl, and holler some more. He sounds part way between Matt Caughthran of the Bronx and Rancid’s Tim Armstrong only a lot angrier. The introduction of female vocals on a few key songs gives some much needed levity and variety. Guitarists 10,000 Marbles and Gulag are really out to impress, filling every spare nook or cranny with fervent six-string fury. Rhythm section Mustard Gas (bass) and Mr Jo (drums) hold down their end impressively providing a compelling and propulsive undertow. The songs explode at you in a sweaty bar-band kinda way and make you want to drink, dance, fight, fornicate, or any combination of those things. In terms of the narrative you may have to dig around to piece it together. Unlike many other concept albums the story never bogs down the music, which is a good thing as urgency is the lifeblood of punk oriented music.

It pays to not think about it too much and let the music of these world class agitators wash over you. The sheer length of the album leaves very few standout tracks. This isn’t to say that you won’t have a blast listening to it, but picking out specific highlights might be difficult. Worthy of mention though is the furious drum-roll outro to ‘Remember My Name’, paired with a relentless guitar solo that burns brightly. The moments where they turn the heat down a little (the acoustic intro to ‘A Slanted Tone’) let a little more feeling in but they never last long before the rock assault returns with a vengeance.

77 minutes is a long time to be listening to any piece of music, let alone anything so energetic and anthemic. It can be a bit draining when taken in one sitting and a little self-editing could have helped. How is one meant to feel after the dozenth song starts with a peppy, uplifting guitar vamp and a rolling drum onslaught? Clearly Fucked Up wanted to make a statement with this album. Mission accomplished.




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