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Album Review
 
Fucked Up - Glass Boys Album Cover

Fucked Up - Glass Boys

Reviewed by
9.0
Fucked UpGlass Boys
Record Label: Matador
Release Date: June 3, 2014
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
It's no secret that hardcore punk is considered a young man's game. The genre itself is built around youthful rebellion, and by the time bands grow into their 30's and beyond, a new wave of teenagers and 20 somethings have already taken over the core of the scene. Every now and then, though, a band finds a way to age gracefully, making their way into the back half of their career with the same intensity that made fans fall in love with them in the first place. Canada's Fucked Up find themselves in this transition phase on Glass Boys, and the poise with which they pull off their growth into hardcore adulthood makes the album one of the best to come out so far this year.

Part of the reason Fucked Up has been able to progress in the way they have is because they've always pushed their sound outside of the boundaries of punk music. This progression hit something of a climax on 2011's David Comes to Life, where the band released an epic double album that followed an intricate, sometimes confusing storyline. It's not every day that punk bands release rock operas, and the ballsy move paid off big time with critical and fan response being overwhelmingly positive, which was no easy feat coming off of The Chemistry of Common Life, their most beloved record yet. Glass Boys, however, scales the scope of the band back considerably from David Comes to Life, and as a result it's their most intimate outing yet.

Intimate for Fucked Up doesn't necessarily mean accessible, though, and it certainly doesn't mean soft. While the concepts may be scaled down on the record, the music still comes at you with full force, as though it was meant to tear down the walls of whatever small, sweaty clubs these guys are playing in. The drums on the record consist of four takes layered on top of each other with two of them being in half time (there's also a version of the record featuring just these half time takes; I highly suggest checking it out) and the guitars are built up in similarly large layers to give the songs a full, robust body. The guitars swirl around these disorienting drums on songs like "Echo Boomer" and "DET" to give off a psychedelic feeling, with occasionally melodic leads poking their head out and revealing themselves, as on "Paper The House." Certain songs contain a more indie rock flavor, with "Sun Glass" kicking off with an acoustic guitar strum, but it quickly kicks into an upbeat track worthy of being the lead single. There's also the immediately catchy bridge of "The Art of Patrons," showing that even when these guys let up a little bit they're still able to catch you off guard.

Frontman Damian Abraham's harsh, demanding voice is the glue that ties all of this together. Abraham gives voice to both his own and guitarist Mike Haliechuk's lyrics, with each providing half of the record with their words. Each of them tackle similar subjects, such as growing older in the hardcore scene and what sacrifices, morally and otherwise, they have had to make along the way. On album opener "Echo Boomer," Haliechuk thinks back on what it was like to be a kid wanting to be in a punk band, and the song has a bit of a positive light despite those days being far behind him, coming to the conclusion "I can still be who I was meant to be." Throughout the record Abraham and Haliechuk deal with this constant pressure to please their younger selves, and although each recognize they've taken steps along the way that they would likely question in their younger years, they've still reached a point with the band that anyone would be and should be proud of.

With so many layers and overdubs tossed onto these songs, the production on the record can get a little bit muddy, but it all works into the themes surrounding the record and never acts as a hindrance to what's going on. The final track on the record, "Glass Boys," gradually builds into a blistering track that culminates every concept on the record into a big, sprawling ending that ends up being one of the best songs these guys have penned to date. The guitars swell and burst, almost swallowing the entire thing whole, but the song switches up into another catchy bridge before Abraham asks once again "Before I had nothing, who did I used to be?" Glass Boys is heavy on the questions and light on the answers, and it ends up being the sound of a band figuring out their legacy in real time, carving out their space in punk rock history right before our eyes.

After traveling the world, reaching heights a band with a swear word in their name never thought they could reach, Fucked Up are deservedly winding down a bit with this record. It's been a wild decade plus of being a band for them, and all of their collective experiences come together on Glass Boys for one of their most evocative, dense, and personal records to date. Despite their growing age, Fucked Up's intensity and conviction is as strong and convincing as ever, and Glass Boys is pretty much a clinic on how a band that's already reached many of the high points in their career can still soar above the rest.

9/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 22
08:29 AM on 07/16/14
#2
phaynes1
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Aoty
09:46 AM on 07/16/14
#3
Chris Collum
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10:55 AM on 07/16/14
#4
Steve_JustAGuy
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Warm Change is such a jam.
11:22 AM on 07/16/14
#5
barkjon
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just got this but haven't spun it much
11:27 AM on 07/16/14
#6
FTank
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lol user rating
11:43 AM on 07/16/14
#7
ALT/MSC/FAN
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Couldn't get into this as easily as David Comes to Life, but still enjoyed it quite a bit.
11:52 AM on 07/16/14
#8
Jake Jenkins
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CLASSIC
12:23 PM on 07/16/14
#9
TylerHartman
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I have yet to spend a proper enough amount of time on this band. I'm seeing them in a month. Please direct me on where to start and how to listen. I've heard it takes some work.
12:25 PM on 07/16/14
Jake Jenkins
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I have yet to spend a proper enough amount of time on this band. I'm seeing them in a month. Please direct me on where to start and how to listen. I've heard it takes some work.
may as well start with their debut Hidden World and move forward from there. all their records are great though and you cant go wrong with any of them. i just caught em on this current tour last week and they put on one hell of a show, you'll have a good time
12:27 PM on 07/16/14
TylerHartman
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may as well start with their debut Hidden World and move forward from there. all their records are great though and you cant go wrong with any of them. i just caught em on this current tour last week and they put on one hell of a show, you'll have a good time
Thank you sir. I'm stoked to see them. They are playing before Tune-Yards, Haim and Spoon...so we'll see how that goes. lol
02:45 PM on 07/16/14
Ryan Dennehy
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At this point I'm pretty sure jakes actual face is featured on this albums art
03:01 PM on 07/16/14
FTank
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At this point I'm pretty sure jakes actual face is featured on this albums art
I thought exactly the same thing earlier today. Hahaha.
03:02 PM on 07/16/14
Jake Jenkins
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this is the longest i've gone with the same avatar in years
03:38 PM on 07/16/14
deanster321
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I enjoyed reading this review, haven't listened to the album for maybe a week or two so I should probably change that.

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