More than 17 years, and now five albums deep, Fucked Up’s enigmatic presence shouldn’t surprise anymore but here they are again as a punk band playing rock. Or is it a hardcore band playing krautrock? Or a rock band locking into a psychedelic groove?
Born from Toronto’s hardcore battlegrounds but fuelled by a fierce punk determinism, they’ve survived, and thrived, all these years by being wilfully ductile. From operas to Polaris Music Prizes and arena tours, Fucked Up have been a paradox, and while they become a little more removed from those heavy hardcore origins with every passing year, you get the sense that they never want to truly escape them.
It feels true here on the hefty 18 tracks of album number five, ‘Dose Your Dreams’. With a comparable run time to that of their 2011 rock opera ‘David Comes to Life’ there’s, similarly, a lot to work through. Anchored by Damian Abraham’s vocal barrage, Fucked Up crank through a wide-ranging repertoire of hardcore, punk, psych, krautrock and funk.
Where ‘Raise Your Voice Joyce’ comes straight for you with freewheeling energy, ‘Torch to Light’ blends the blissful with the brutal; where ‘How to Die Happy’ blooms into an M83-esque odyssey, the title track veers towards a breathless kind of psychedelic funk before Abraham comes crashing through the walls.
Drummer Jonah Falco once said that the driving force behind the band was to “take inspiration from a place that doesn’t really make sense and smash it into the existing structure.” In that respect, ‘Dose Your Dreams’ is unmistakably Fucked Up.