[sic] Magazine

Fucked Up – Glass Boys

Toronto one-offs Fucked Up have been wrestling with what it is to be a hardcore band for over a decade. Sure, they’ve got the band name and frontman Damian Abrahams (who rarely seems to go by the nom de guerre Pink Eyes these days) growls like the best of them, but they’ve always forged their own path – that on-going Chinese calendar series and those lengthy concept albums/rock operas should do for proof.

The relatively concise Glass Boys continues the theme then only by being unexpected. Just ten tracks, just over 40 minutes long, there’s power in its brevity (something the traditional HC crowd know well) and it may be for the best that Abrahams didn’t get his wish for another double LP this time around. True to form he again dominates though, hollerin’ on during the choruses like he’s fronting a death-metal band and sometimes to the point that he nearly masks the intelligent interplay of the band’s three guitarists and their strong melodies. The separate drum tracks however are a different matter. Played both at half-time and full-time they seem like they’re everywhere at once, helping to wind tracks like “Warm Change” up into a powerful barrage. This particular track then winds down into a reverb and organ-led psyche jam to close. Why? Why not.

Emboldened by this sort of spirit Glass Boys sees tracks open with delicate arpeggios or acoustic jangles before the inevitable onslaught of drums and fuzz clear a path for Abrahams. On the chugging “The Art Of Patrons” he puts his theatrical grumble to particularly good effect, allowing an entertaining back-and-forth with the band’s backing vocals to bleed to the fore. Throw some “oh, oh, oohs” amidst the power chords and feedback of the rousing “Touch Stone” and “Sun Glass” and you’d have a Japandroids-style garage-punk thing going on too. Then you’ve got the mid-paced “Paper The House” and the faster “Led By Hand” that buzz with late 80s alt-rock noise, the latter, almost unsurprisingly, featuring the legendary J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.

Truth be told there’s as much classic punk-rock and even pop in Glass Boys as there is hardcore, but Fucked Up remain interesting precisely because they’re willing to do something different. Quite simply, no-one else is making rock like this. Best of all though is the knowledge that the band are always better live and with the fun Glass Boys in their pocket you can be sure that show is gonna be even more enjoyable.

Best tracks: “The Art Of Patrons” and “Led By Hand”

~Glass Boys is released June 2nd 2014 via Matador.~