Much like Psychedelic Horseshit, Bitch Magnet or Anal Cunt, Fucked Up is one of those bands I can’t really discuss with my mother. Next time we chat, and she asks if I’ve written about anything interesting lately, I can’t tell her I reviewed the new Fucked Up record. Nothing against her, she’s a very sweet and good-natured woman, but she can’t wrap her head around this kind of stuff. She didn’t even listen to the Cat Power album I bought her, so even if Fucked Up had a less expletive-inclined name, they wouldn’t stand a chance. Which is a shame, because my mother raised me to be an ambitious guy, and Fucked Up is hardcore’s most ambitious band to date.
Case in point: David Comes to Life, the band’s third proper full-length album, in addition to countless singles of both the 7” and 12” variety. David is a ridiculously epic—sometimes too epic, frankly—rock opera concept album set to a play. A mouthful, no? It’s a “modern day morality tale,” according to the band, featuring all kinds of stuff great stories include, from love to war to unreliable narrators, and the whole thing very nearly breaks the one and a half hour mark. It’s kind of exhausting just writing about it.
Sonically, this is Fucked Up’s cleanest album to date. Yes, frontman Damien Abraham (AKA: Pink Eyes) handles most of the vocals as usual, and those vocals, also as usual, are screamed in his signature growl, but there’s something catchier about them this time out, even if they unfortunately avoid any outright hooks. Paired with arena-rock ready guitars and the occasional and sweetly sung vocals of bassist Sandy Miranda (AKA: Mustard Gas), David Comes to Life is downright accessible. It’s also a lot of material to handle, and almost unlistenable in one setting. Come to think of it, maybe it would work well as an actual stage production, complete with Fucked Up playing in the orchestra pit and a nice intermission so theatergoers could have a breather in the middle. I mean, my mom wouldn’t go see it, but I totally would.