Now more than ever, retrogressive sounds are reigning dominant in the college and youth-based indie circuits. Whether it’s backlash against the skull-numbing characteristics of modern radio pop, an excessively manifested homage to upbringings, or the result of a desolate idea drought, a multitude of listeners and players are vesting it all in yester-year. Lately Toronto’s Fucked Up has been frequently hailed as the valiant return to hardcore’s initial purities and threats.
While I’d eagerly advocate the praise that critical sources and listeners have been dishing out, a descriptive clearing of the air is needed: Fucked Up undeniably borrows as much, if not more of their influence from early era skin and’ Oi Brit-punkers than they do from formative hardcore acts. The majority of their material is mid-tempo, and founded on call and response fist pumping anthems. Sure, the fuzzed out vintage Marshall amps and cactus-caught-in-the-throat vocals are reminiscent of a handful of N.Y., D.C., and L.A. classic no-neck tough guys and hardcore way-pavers, but there’s way too many other factors at play. On top of the varying 80’s punk rooting, Fucked Up dabbles heavily in straight up arena rock and rolling (footnote: musical cues aside, see mystical album art for further evidence).
While it may not be as commendable among certain sets, there’s a clear indulgence in the wall-of-full-stacks-at-the-monster-truck-rally, total-babes-back-stage, long-hair-and-hooks classic rock fantasy. All in all, there’s a lot of hands in the figurative pie and not all of them are dressed are with bloody knuckles and sharpie x’s. Indeed, although pigeonholing audiophiles may disagree, the end result actually is unique. Let’s face it, O.G. hardcore and punk acts never sounded this tight and polished; looking and listening back on it, that’s part of the appeal. Furthermore, O.G. hardcore and punk acts wouldn’t have clocked in eight minute songs or a seventy plus minute album. For better or worse, it’s impossible to recreate the past, and this record doesn’t attempt to do so. Fucked Up rules and that’s on the real, but instead of pushing them to the masses by leeching into the stagnant pool of dated yet revered comparisons, it’s due time that they receive some hyping for respecting their elders while vibrantly lighting the way for a new generation.