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Album Review
Glass Boys

Glass Boys
by Fucked Up

Matador Records

Review Date
17 June 2014
Reviewed by
Adrian Hatwell

The album might be compact and the high concepts set aside, but mistaking Glass Boys for a return to Fucked Up’s hardcore roots would be inviting disappointment. And in this fourth studio album disappointment has become one of the band’s primary concerns, along with worries about selling out, getting old, and losing their way. Since 2006’s Hidden World, the band has charted a dizzying, experimental path from underground heroes to stadium-packing rock stars, it’s only natural they’re now feeling a bit disoriented.

On Glass Boys the fusion of punk urgency and indie rock pageantry that allowed the band to smash through genre glass ceilings has evolved once again, into its most jumbled iteration to date. The trio of guitarists have stripped their sound right down while ludicrously overdubbed drum tracks bloat the production into a sludgy chore. The only thing holding the sound together is the magnificent, tectonic growl of frontman Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham – and that’s almost enough, but he’s now singing on tracks that sound like they were written for someone of an entirely more delicate disposition.

Through the band’s signature everyman poetry, the singer wonders what his younger self might think of him now, whether the ethos of the basement are compatible with raising a family, and if the price of popularity must always come in diminished authenticity. The album has no answers, but a pervading air of pessimism suggests not everyone in the band is thrilled with what they have become. Sonically at least, it’s hard to disagree.

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