Goliath, watch out!
By now, most of us have either seen or taken part in a days-consuming bout of the Japanese sleeper hit Katamari Damacy: piloting an ever-growing ball of randomly generated objects until it achieves the critical mass necessary to create some star or planet. Starting at the size of a small hamster ball, the little fella’ transforms into a patchwork behemoth composed of disparate elements. In much the same style as the intrepid “Prince of the Universe,” Fucked Up has rolled through genres and styles with nearly the same velocity. However, instead of becoming a huge, unrecognizable mess, they’ve managed to successfully assimilate it all into a distinct, albeit Protean, whole. With David Comes to Life, Fucked Up rolls into and over the treacherous territory of concept albums.
Not content to deliver a mere rehashing of Tommy-style narratives, David Comes to Life adds a meta-fictional element to an already twisted tale. At first, it seems to merely be a chronicle, divided into four revealingly titled parts, of the travails of the title character, David Eliade, his star-crossed, ill-fated love interest Veronica, their plot to make a bomb, and her questionable demise. However, as the story unfolds, the character of David appears at time to vie with frontman Pink Eyes for control of the story. By the album’s end, we’re still left in doubt as to the actual nature of the “rebirth” described in the fourth section’s title.
Much like S.F. Sorrow before it, the lyrical narrative is merely one aspect of a well-crafted concept album. While the hardcore part of Fucked Up we’ve come to love is still very much at the core of the album’s sound, they’ve added heaping teaspoons of early punk, blues rock, and even Hawkwind-style space rock. The result is that we’re taken sonically from straight-up hardcore grinders to expansive, space rock tinged interludes. While it sounds like a dicey combination on paper, it somehow, inexplicably, manages to be a flying auk.
So for those of you who usually worry when the phrases “experimenting with a new sound,” “going in a new direction,” or “exploring new concepts” start appearing in interviews or reviews about upcoming albums, fear not. Fucked Up’s experiment is a success.