Fucked Up The Chemistry of Common Life

[Matador; 2008]

Styles: hardcore, rock
Others: none, really

You’re in one of the most intense hardcore bands in the world, and you want to let everyone know you’re going to slow down a little bit. You’re Toronto’s angry answer to socialized politics, releasing more 7-inches than you can keep track of. You probably don’t know your bandmates’ actual names. You’re set to release what will soon be one of the most influential albums your genre has seen in quite awhile, one that focuses on substance over style and emphasizes rock hits over circle pits. What’s the best way to signal your transition?

Well, why not start your opening track with a flute solo?

Like …Trail of Dead’s Source Tags and Codes, Fucked Up's The Chemistry of Common Life is a guitar album. With singer Pink Eyes’ voice splicing through a wall of distorted melody, opener “Son the Father” reflects the intensity of Fucked Up’s previous work — only now it's less dependent on its hardcore signifiers to make its point. It’s the first bad mushroom trip, now looked upon with familiarity, a sense of knowing that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s spiraling down the rabbit hole because the fear of the unknown has transformed into the fear of never experiencing it again.

This is music that will incite a riot.

Perhaps the least rote thing about Fucked Up is their drummer, Guinea Beat. He keeps things consistently engaging, unafraid to forgo typical fast punk 4/4 for something less obviously constructed. And the guitar sound on this album is peerless, its unpredictability setting the band apart from their "post-hardcore" contemporaries. Every track has a distinct flavor, and have you ever heard three guitars in hardcore sound so versatile? “Black Albino Bones” is an exhibition of what radio-friendly hardcore sounds like: a chord progression accessible enough for Top 40 but with a sound deafening enough to take down a tank.

This is music at its most carnal.

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