There’s a short list of releases that have captivated me thus far in 2011. And one of them is the inspiring 78-minute rock opera concept album David Comes to Life by Canadian hardcore punk band Fucked Up.
I first saw the band live at Pitchfork 2009 and since then I’ve been following their adventures over the last few years.
And the fist time I dove into David earlier this year, I was blown away on many levels. And I knew I had to see these guys perform live again, especially the songs from this album.
If the band’s name hasn’t already warned you, I’ll give you a double warning and say that Fucked Up isn’t a band that everyone will warm up to. For example, lead singer Damian Abraham gritty growl of a singing voice is harsh and I imaging most folks won’t be hip to it initially.
But it only takes a close listen to discover the beauty within the beast and realize that Abraham is a gifted lyricist who loves to use his seething and urgent growl to sing from the depth of his heart. And in this case, he expands his raw talent to tell David‘s story.
I won’t go into all the details, but I will tell you this.
I usually don’t like to read album reviews before I listen to the album so when I first listened to David Comes to Life, I wasn’t initially aware that it was a rock opera that, according to Pitchfork “tells the story of a lowly British light bulb factory worker put on trial for the accidental (or is it?) death of his activist girlfriend.”
What I did do, before I discovered the full massiveness of the back story, was get rocked and electrified to my core by the furiously rushing and rhythmic mix of punk and shoe-gazing guitars that paint the epic and ambitious sonic canvas of David.
I didn’t notice this at first but after several trips through the album, it’s absolutely mesmerizing to experience how the collective surging mass of all the instruments not only pushes the album’s story along, but the production also plays the part of the antagonist as it tries to swallow, carrying away or crush the vocals and voice of the lead character David.
But Abraham, as the album’s protagonist, howls and growls triumphantly himself throughout, while also being gorgeously complimented by the soft and sweet croon of female vocals which play the part of David’s girlfriend. This musical and highly emotive tug-of-war combination between the vocals and the layerous and lush production plays beautifully into the heart of the album. And all of this makes it really hard to believe that this is a hardcore punk album. But that it is. And it’s a VERY GOOD one.
So What’s Going On In New York?
Fucked Up came through Chicago in late September but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the show. But I did have the pleasure of living vicariously through a review of the concert via On Warmer Music.
All this said, I’m stoked to share news for New York-area folks that Matador has announced that Fucked Up will play David Comes to Life in its entirety, in the round on November 14th at Le Poisson Rouge.
Matador also notes that this is the first time all 18 songs are played during one show, and the first time many of the songs have been played live at all. Titus Andronicus will also be on the bill so it’s bound to be a great show. Tickets are available here.
Buy David Comes to Life via iTunes.
How Have You Come To Life?
Were you at the Chicago show to witness Fucked Up at the Logan Square Auditorium or at Pitchfork 2008? Got thoughts about experiencing David live in concert? Let us know what you think and we’ll share your story and comments during a future episode of Live Fix Radio.