Fucked Up – David Comes to Life
David Comes to Life is one tough nut to crack. A sprawling, 80-minute hardcore punk rock opera, its description alone makes it seem destined for disaster. And while in less capable hands, David could be bound for the bin, unorthodox Canadian crushers Fucked Up amalgamate sunny pop, heavy-hitting hardcore and a stage-show approach to lyricism into a winning, if a bit weird, third LP.
Act One (yes, the album has Acts) adopts some soft touches, with bassist Sandy Miranda's saccharine vocals rounding out the rough edges of Damian Abraham's bear-like bellowing. Cuts like Queen of Hearts – where our eponymous protagonist meets Veronica – paint a hopeful picture for the pair with pop-punk and surf as accenting brush strokes. However, when – spoiler alert – Veronica gets offed before the second act, the tone turns darker and the band all but reverts to its usual Cro-Mags-with-a-90s-indie-fetish style.
Further on, Fucked Up injects shoegaze and prog rock into two of LP's best cuts, Life in Paper and Ship of Fools, respectively, as it attempts to retool the rock opera paradigm by pitting protagonist against narrator. After the smoke clears, the album concludes with a series of contemplative soliloquies ultimately returning to the sunnier disposition found at the album's outset.
With equal parts adherence to and abandonment of tradition, DCTL succeeds despite its dubious concept and daunting runtime, and though it may be hard to digest, it leaves a pleasant aftertaste.