Fucked Up

Dose Your Dreams

Written by: PP on 13/01/2019 18:12:42

Not lacking in ambition in the slightest, Fucked Up continue onwards on their journey into becoming one of the most iconic and celebrated bands within punk rock and hardcore on latest album "Dose Your Dreams", the follow-up to 2014 masterpiece "Glass Boys", which perfected the grandiose hardcore opera approach of "David Comes To Life" in an über-catchy, slightly more accessible fashion. And now, we have lift-off with an eighteen-track, 82-minute long rocketship that seeks to push hardcore's boundaries into territories not even seen on previous Fucked Up releases, which in all honesty is way too long considering the attention spans of today's music enthusiasts.

But aside from its length, "Dose Your Dreams" is a record with so much to offer. It opens in classic Fucked Up fashion with a ferocious hardcore piece "None Of Your Business Man". It underlines exactly why their expression is so revered: vocalist Damian Abraham's rowdy, crackling style blends in effortlessly with the catchy guitar hooks and treble-charged distortion. It's dosed in energy, carrying the sort of urgency that's just irresistible, even without the sing-along style chorus. Then in contrast, "Raise Your Voice Joyce" brings in Jen Calleja's smooth, but powerful female vocals to add that quirky contrast between soft/hard that the band is so renowned for, not to even mention that they make it the catchiest track on the record. But these two are just some of the more straightforward tracks on offer and those that lean most on hardcore on the first quarter of the album.

What follows then are thematics and soundscapes you would never associate with the hardcore scene in any manner. The title track, for instance, brings in orchestral elements. "Torch To Light" sounds like a track designed to play live given its progressive, multifaceted nature where the slightly echoing drum production and off-balance vocals will induce a hot, sweaty mess of a riot in a live environment. "Living In A Simulation" is a throwback to 80s hardcore with its tight, distorted guitars, but with a playful twist of effect-laden keyboards and weird pedals to make it stand out as an oddity.

But no matter how far away the band stray from gravelly vocals and sweaty punk rock rhythms, you can (nearly) always detect a rough edge, a groovy bit of detail, and that sense of urgency which separates them from mainstream music and underlines why bands like Fucked Up are direly needed: they add that element of fresh innovation and uniqueness that keeps hardcore on its toes. There's a sense of danger, a sense of passion and a vivid sense of sheer joy of playing music that oozes from each and every song on the record. That's the key driver of songs like "I Don't Wanna Live In This World Anymore", which, in the spirit of what I just mentioned, throws in casual saxophone into the mix for good measure.

It's no secret that Fucked Up are at their best when they bring forth "a fierce, but consistently melodic expression that translates into upbeat hardcore anthems that are playable on mainstream radio without losing any edge in the process", as I wrote in my "Glass Boys" review four years ago. "Dose Your Dreams" certainly has plenty such moments throughout its 82-minute duration, however, the reason it doesn't feel as coherent nor will it have as powerful an impact is precisely because of its length. Who has time for a nearly one and a half hour listening session these days? At the very least, the band could've dropped the most experimental cuts like "The One I Want Will Come For Me" or the avant-garde electronic track "Mechanical Bull" and a few others that don't really add anything else than a little variety to the record.

Shortening it down to maybe an hour's worth of anthems perhaps would've meant the artistic expression and experimentalist spirit takes a step back, however, it would've resulted into a more cohesive album of straight up bangers. Right now, it's way too long, which distracts from the masterpieces sandwiched in between.

Download: None Of Your Business Man, Raise Your Voice Joyce, House Of Keys
For the fans of: The Bronx, Metz, White Lung, OFF!, Black Flag, Hüsker Dü
Listen: Facebook

Release date 05.10.2018

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