Fucked Up – David Comes to Life

written by: June 6, 2011
Release Date: June 7, 2011


Few could condemn the members of hardcore punk outfit Fucked Up as slouches. Since forming about a decade ago, the band has endeared itself to new fans with bold, ear-yanking recordings (their choice of format not at all limited to conventional LP releases) and equally astounding live performances that meld its members’ aggressive playing with frontman Pink Eyes’ audience-inclusive antics. On the new full-length, David Comes to Life, Fucked Up continues to extend itself, this time through rock music’s embodiment of ambition in overdrive: the concept album.

Few punk bands have tackled the formidable concept album in the past, but then Fucked Up have never been just a punk band. For a group that frequently indulges in out-sized gestures, an 18-track epic involving murder and doomed romance is a fitting next move. Pink Eyes’ bellowing vocals, which are in reliably muscular form here, may not seem suitable for imparting a well-drawn narrative with dense lyricism. His snarling delivery often muddles the nuanced wordplay, but this is hardly a detractor. Listeners who care to explore the album’s storyline beyond what they think they’re hearing can easily access the lyrics on the band’s website.

Impressively, the band has bulked up its propulsive sound, effortlessly mixing stadium-shuddering riffs with streamlined punk ferocity. Extended guitar workouts on tracks like “Ship of Fools” and “A Little Death” hoist the album to transcendent heights. Fucked Up has always aimed high, but rarely have they sounded this far removed from a conventional punk sound while maintaining such breathtaking rawness.

The tracks on David Comes to Life are meticulously sequenced and grouped into four separate “acts.” Befitting a concept album, the songs often bleed into one another.

At some points, a gently strummed acoustic passage precedes the band’s typically abrasive sound. Moments like these are unexpected but no less enthralling. Not only do they smartly harken interludes from albums like Pink Floyd’s The Wall (think the hushed atmospherics in a song like “Goodbye Cruel World,” minus Roger Waters’ tortured singing). For a high-intensity sonic double feature, consider pairing David Comes to Life with The Who’s Quadrophenia.

As mentioned, David Comes to Life contains a variety of classic concept album signatures, including repeated motifs and intricate mythologizing. Regarding the latter, the album’s title alone conjures visions of the titular deaf, dumb and blind kid from The Who’s Tommy. It’s this self-awareness, combined with a genuine and palpable fondness for the inspired material, that have allowed Fucked Up to create one of the biggest rock albums of the year.

Fucked Up – David Comes to Life Tracklist:

  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. “A 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”