Review Summary: Join the crusade.
cked Up have become a polarising band for many since their rapid rise after releasing this debut LP. They are hailed by some as the saviours of punk and labelled by others as overrated, their hype a product of a barren modern punk scene. I view Hidden World as Fu
cked Up's definitive album, a collection of songs that exude an almost naïve ambitiousness in both their musical form and subject matter.
Sound wise, Fu
cked Up is heavily reliant on their guitar sound, which is layered and intertwined in ways almost reminiscent of Thurston Moore and Lee Ronaldo, though with a harder edge. They build up very textured walls of sound for vocalist Pinkeyes to scream over and for themselves to solo with, as well as indulging in frequent experimental interludes between songs. Drums and bass are also very solid, though Fu
cked Up are clearly a guitarists band. I think this is one of their main strengths, as the wide array of tones and atmosphere that the guitar work is able to contribute to a hardcore punk record makes them a very interesting and exciting band to listen to.
Moving beyond the energy, excitement and experimentation in the music itself, Fu
cked Up seem to be trying to create something bigger and better than just a kick ass punk record. The intense philosophical bent that Pinkeyes contributes through his lyrics separates Fu
cked Up from most of their peers. He is obviously intrigued by notions of religion and spirituality, and the expectations the former places on the latter. Much of the record broaches this kind of territory, but rather than simply rage predictably against the obvious contradictions inherent in religion’s regulation of spirituality and it’s relevance in the 21st century, his rants tend to pose poignant questions and yield far more insight than might be expected from the vocalist of a hardcore punk band. He is clearly atheist (they believe that the path of righteousness is paved with the lives of six million souls, I believe that one day all the stars in the sky will explode) from Fate Of Fates being one example, but he often directs his rage away from the classic punk anti-establishment MO and explores his thoughts on an individual, personal level which is very refreshing to hear. I should point out that while there is much nuance here, there is still a heavy level of vitriol both in the content of the lyrics and their delivery. Take for example the frenzied delivery of this passage, again from Fate Of Fates…
“We all wind up in the same place when we go, keep smiling honey happy to be alive because in this concentration camp every second is borrowed time, armed to the teeth, we admit defeat afraid to look back as we retreat so we try anything, and in gods we trust, hoping there is a higher purpose than fading into the dust”
These thoughtful explorations of religion and the vigorous intensity and experimentation in the band’s cuts are what makes me come back to Hidden World and Fu
cked Up time and time again. I believe what Fu
cked Up are trying to ‘create’ is a higher plane of consciousness for punk rock by expanding on the sometimes formulaic, three chord nature of the genre that can serve to limit its potential.
They both acknowledge and evolve beyond the kind of predictable rage and crass, ambivalent humour born of a disengagement with, or contempt for society or the music industry… or whatever else boils the blood of the punk rockers of today. This is not to say that they are better than that, but the point is that they are not limiting themselves to it as a punk band. The same is true of the musical arrangements. There is plenty of vintage hardcore riffing, though it is complimented by lots of effects laden guitar melody and feedback. The songs are much longer than your typical punk song, frequently clocking in at five minutes and longer with various passages of meandering melody breaking up the intensity of the songs. All of these unconventional elements of Fu
cked Up's music display a sincere ambition in the band to sound unique, being not content with just making a raucous, balls to the wall slab of punk rock. Whilst many (including myself) tend to think some of their later work sees them becoming slightly burdened by their own lofty ambitions, you have to admire the brevity of their aspirations all the same. On Hidden World though they pull it off tremendously well, making it an album that offers so much to the listener. The lyrics are thoughtful and articulate, the music is well structured with ferocious heaviness offset with soothing interludes and the album is well produced. I really only wish the artwork was as cool as The Chemistry Of Common Life.
So, what I am really trying to say here is that most of the hype surrounding Fu
cked Up is justified, particularly here on Hidden World. While their rapid rise may be indicative of a stagnating modern punk scene, that shouldn’t detract from their worth as a band. For those tempted to see what all the fuss is about, grab a copy of Hidden World. It is a high water mark for modern punk that in my opinion has yet to be surpassed.
• Jacob’s Ladder
• Fate Of Fates
• The Two Snakes
• Baiting the Public