Fucked Up

The Chemistry of Common Life (Matador)

Phases & Stages

Fucked Up

The Chemistry of Common Life (Matador)

It takes stainless-steel balls to open a hardcore album with a flute solo, but that's exactly what sets Torontoan sixpiece Fucked Up apart from a billion others. This is third wave hardcore, and it's a return to form, where commentary rules and violence and ignorance won't be tolerated. Opening with mouthpiece Pink Eyes' explosive "Son the Father" ("It's hard enough being born in the first place; who would ever want to be born again?") set atop a wall of guitars, Fucked Up's second proper LP mingles aggression with experimentalism. (Are those bongos on "Magic Word"?) "Golden Seal" lowers temperatures toward Icelandic pop, and "No Epiphany," despite Guinea Beat's throttling snare, gazes at its footwear while emitting a guttural growl. "The Peaceable Kingdom" (vinyl/iTunes only), "Black Albino Bones," and the furious "Twice Born" all burn hot and heavy, yet for every screeching power chord there's a "Royal Swan," five minutes of organ tinker giving way to psychedelia, or "Looking for God," a slow, steady guitar instrumental accented by stringlike effects. The killer title track closes The Chemistry of Common Life by bringing it full circle. Fucked Up remains a mystery, a band shrouded in pseudonyms and rumor, untouched by expectations, and writing its own rules. That's hardcore. (Fucked Up schools Emo's Saturday, Jan. 31.)

****

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