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Review: Fucked Up – “Dose Your Dreams”

Shannon Durazo, Music Staffer

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Fucked Up- Dose Your Dreams (Merge) [punk rock/experimental]

The new Fucked Up album is a wild ride from start to finish. What seems like a record that should be hardcore through and through, the listener is instead presented with a project teeming with just as many punk-ethic contradictions. In a genre where DIY and low-fi is celebrated, the double LP is teeming with experimental nuances and modernist production. Opening track “None of Your Business” is fueled by a buzzing arpeggiated piano, and leading single, “House of Keys” is punctuated through its effective use of a dizzying high-pitched string arrangement and synth.

Since emerging from the sweaty basements of the Toronto underground in the early 2000s, Fucked Up have had a lot more on their mind than the average hardcore band. Known for the signature gravelly scream of hulking front man Damian Abraham, also known as Pink Eyes, legend has it Abraham’s own face is covered in scars from continuously smashing bottles against it in live performances. Yet still, like their influences “The Buzzcocks” and “Husker Du”, Fucked up shows off their intellectual side in their more complex arrangements, some tracks point more to pop and disco than they do punk for the most part.

While Abraham is seen to be the dominant force of the constantly evolving hardcore band, it is guitarist Mike Haliechuk that takes the reigns on this project. Haliechuk has always been one to flex his creative side on previous Fucked Up albums, and while Abraham allegedly fought his post-modernist ideas to stay true to a DIY ethic, it seems on this new album he finally gave in to Haliechuk’s experimental desires. In an interview with Exclaim. Abraham stated “I think that my hope is we can find ways for this band to grow without having to have me be the guy holding it back.” And hold back they do not, as Fucked Up drags Abraham kicking and screaming into the future with tracks like the power-pop melodicism in “Normal People,” the space rock ambience of “How to Die Happy”, and the fuzzed out grunge homage in “Came Down Wrong” which features 90’s rock hero and Dinosaur Jr. front man J. Mascis. Dose Your Dreams is still a hardcore record in pace and tone, but in arrangement and style it is anything but, and I kind of adore it.

Recommended: 2,7,11   RIYL: The Buzzcocks, Husker Du, Jawbreaker

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Review: Fucked Up – “Dose Your Dreams”