At the forefront of contemporary punk

When Pete Townshend sat down to compose rock operas, he focused on disability, paedophilia and schizophrenia. Forty years on and the concept of rock operas might reasonably be considered a historical artifact best left in the museum of musical nonconformities. Fucked Up clearly have alternative opinions on the matter! Their particular operatic composition though is about “lost love, global meltdown, depression, war, guilt and madness”. Perhaps the public inclination will remain one of disdain, but the Canadian punks have tongues firmly in cheeks and the net result is only heavy in one respect; musically.

The hardcore sound has been softened a little by some subtle musical passages and the addition of contributory female vocals along with a degree of welcome commerciality in some of the tunes. The ‘sledgehammer in bubble wrap’ approach may not convince the purists of course, but it does provide for enough variety to make the seventy-eight-minute set pan out more comfortably. The band clearly have a great deal more to offer, although there is a tendency to cling onto those punk roots, rendering the audibility of the lyrical content somewhat inaccessible.

There’s no doubting the commitment in delivery though, with solid musical cohesion and a thrusting triple-guitar assault that has an astounding clarity and is expertly choreographed. Without a doubt, they remain at the forefront of contemporary punk, with a blatant unwillingness to accept conformity and must be regarded an essential element of the current scene.


Words by TC


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