Music Reviews
Fucked Up

Fucked Up

Couple Tracks: Singles 2002 – 2009

Matador Records

Fucked Up gets it together – somewhat. The Canadian provocateurs cull their vast singles output into a two-disc compilation (The Hard Stuff and The Fun Stuff, respectively) ironically titled Couple Tracks: Singles 2002 – 2009.

The hardcore sextet tries to explain their unorthodox releases in the liner notes with a paragraph explanation for all 25 remastered tracks. But don’t even think of trying to find any rhyme or reason to it. For example, a bridge of one b-side becomes the verse to another song’s a-side. The band has released many 7” singles (people still do that?!) on many labels throughout the world, including the fashionable Jade Tree Records.

The hilarious write-ups provide good insights into the band’s unique sound. Like how they used ProTools to squeeze layered recording trickery into a 4-track player. Or how the drummer’s computer assigned the name “Mustaa Lunta.”

The band readily admits to “ripping off” drum beats from The Undertones for “Neat Parts” and “Teenage Problems.” Disc 2 (The Fun Stuff) includes five cover songs from obscure British twee pop bands. Dolly Mixture, anyone?

But Fucked Up makes it all their own. Fucked Up doesn’t just rely on the hardcore hallmarks of fast power chords and screaming. They provide lots of fantastic hooks, interesting arrangements, and inventive instrumentation to their sound.

However, they didn’t start that way. The first single Fucked Up ever released kicks off Disc 1 (The Hard Stuff) with an audio clip from a movie about the Spanish Civil War. “No Pasaran” is straight-up punk with Damien’s gravel-on-nails voice screeching the chorus “they won’t fuck with us much longer!”

Fucked Up hits its stride in later songs with the gorgeous, complex “Triumph of Life” standing out. The band also includes different versions of three songs from their 2008 masterpiece The Chemistry of Common Life. “No Epiphany” is shorter and sped up. “Magic Word” has a completely different arrangement that turns the menacing album version into a bouncy, twangy one.

To complete the divergent elements that comprise Fucked Up, Couple Songs ends with a funky, disco, gurgling, unreleased track. “David Comes to Life” sounds like it was recorded underwater. If that doesn’t give a glimpse into the demented, confounding, fantastic sound of Fucked Up, nothing will.

Fucked Up:\_up

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