Fucked Up – Glass Boys
Glass Boys feels like a breather, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. For a band that has spent so much time crafting high concept albums (2011’s absolutely brilliant, exhausting, and convoluted David Comes to Life) and EPs (namely their Chinese Zodiac series, each featuring a lengthy track) Fucked Up’s latest long player plays like good old fashioned hardcore punk rock. It feels like a normal record, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There is a normal number of tracks (10) and a normal running time (just over 40 minutes) and plays like a culmination of all the great work Fucked Up have been doing throughout their highly prolific and exclusively excellent career.
Fucked Up’s greatest asset, an ability to craft songs that are both highly aggressive and highly melodic, is in top form here. Pink Eyes may play the part of a traditional punk singer (lots of screaming, lots of bleeding) but unlike your everyday screamers, his bark has so many different shades and tones. The way he can subtly layer melodies into the vocals in a genre where they’re traditionally a flat wash of noise is at least deft and at most masterful. There’s so much personality and truth in his delivery, and it’s exactly what is needed to compete with the rest of the band’s stunning compositions. Hardcore punk was never supposed to sound this beautiful, this deliberate, or this crisp. The riffs bleed anthemic and occasionally crib classic rock to take things to another level, the harmonies occasionally float in to offset Pink Eyes’ holler with great effect, and the drumming, Jesus Christ, Jonah Falco’s drumming takes on a life of its own.
Glass Boys finds a band firing on all cylinders and coasting on greatness. There aren’t any big changes, no bold maneuvers, just a group of Canadians at the top of their game, playing punk that is so tight, engaging, and intelligent that you just kind of have to set aside 40 minutes to soak it up like a sponge. It’s an immensely satisfying effort that, despite lacking the over-ambitiousness of the band’s last couple of albums, should find itself lodged near the top of the band’s catalog when all is said and done. Which, I’m only assuming, won’t be anytime soon.