Fucked Up's Father Damien Bares Soul, Ass, at Reggie's Rock Club in Chicago
Download: Fucked Up - "Twice Born"
Download: Fucked Up - "No Epiphany"
The Chemistry of Common Life (Matador, 2008)
There's been a lot of talk about common life these days, whether it's political campaigns talking about "Joe the Plumber", or economists talking about how the pure free-market has failed some 40 million Americans without health insurance (to be fair, some of them have undoubtedly made the choice on their own not to have it), or average folks simply discussing how hard it is to get by these days. The significance of a title like The Chemistry of Common Life to current events in 2008 is probably unintentional, but the record's startling contempt for the status quo, it's search for deeper solutions to life's problems, and it's reinvention of hardcore punk's sonic and musical vocabulary (flutes, bongos, multi-tracked guitars) all practically guarantee this album's relevance this year, next year, next decade...well, next century seems to be pushing it. But those listeners who want to be pushed, challenged, and thrilled by the Father Damian's John Brannon-esque roar, or the compositional diversity of his group, can look no further than Life
The Chemistry of Common Life retains all of the righteous fury of first-and-second-wave hardcore bands (and even second-wave emo on "Black Albino Bones") while at the same time introducing a multitude of ambitious ideas--I get a chill down my spine every time the serene, but fatalistically angry, "No Epiphany" comes on, as the track's layered guitars and angelic vocals unquestionably foreshadow a hardcore Loveless. That's not the only song with psychedelic aspirations though. "Royal Swan"'s neo-psychedelia stands up to anything that Black Mountain has released this year (and then some), and "Golden Seal" is the kind of instrumental segue track that would have Kevin Sheids envious. But before you can lull yourself in a droney haze, Fucked Up come back with hard-fisted hardcore, including "Twice Born" and the epic closing title track. Simply put, this is one of the best albums of the year.
Fucked Up recently played a show at Reggie's Rock Club, where they bared their souls by way of the philosophical lyrics, and where singer Father Damien bared his ass using more conventional methods. All photos by Jimmy Farabi. Check them out below:
For more, including the opening bands, go here.
Cross-published on CIMI.
Photos by Jimmy Farabi