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Fucked Up - David Comes to Life Album Cover

Fucked Up - David Comes to Life

Reviewed by
8.8
Fucked Up - David Comes to Life
Record Label: Matador Records
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Fucked Up is a punk band with epic aspirations. And their recently released third full length album, David Comes to Life, only serves to further demonstrate Fucked Up's ambition. Divided into four acts, it tells the story of David Eliade, a factory worker, and his lover Veronica Boisson's scheme to construct a bomb and the aftermath of its early detonation; namely, Veronica's death. Beyond that, it's difficult to decipher the plot; to do so, one would have to spend extensive time analyzing the lyrics to each track. But as a listener who still doesn't fully understand the intricacies of the story-line of this self-proclaimed "rock opera", I can assure you that complete comprehension isn't at all vital to enjoyment of David Comes to Life.

Besides the complicated lyrical aspects of the album, David Comes to Life isn't an easy listen for another reason: its length. At eighteen tracks and seventy-eight minutes, the listener must be patient to easily manage a complete spin of the album in one sitting. Yet when in the right mood, one will find this album one of the most rewarding of the year.

Nearly the moment David Comes to Life commences, it's apparent this is no ordinary punk album. Opener "Let Her Rest" is an instrumental track, decorated with twinkling piano and ambient noise. To some readers, that description might bring to mind post-rock. Yet the song is more accurately defined as a dramatic build, a preparation for what's to come; as it progresses, the guitar lines slowly become more punk, more representative of the remainder of the album. In effect, the track's purpose is to gradually accustom the listener to the sounds that follow.

The following track, "Queen of Hearts", is the first we hear of Damian Abraham's (A.K.A. Pink Eyes) snarl. It's as ferocious as ever, yet Abraham seems to have improved his emotional range. It's also the first we hear of Cults' Madeline Follin, who plays Veronica. The shimmery guitars grant the tune a bright feel and the dual narration is a unique storytelling technique. It's certainly a standout and has the potential to become known as one of punk's defining love songs.

The next three songs -- "Under My Nose", "The Other Shoe", and "Turn the Season" -- share lyrical similarities in that each mention "the other shoe". In fact, it is the track named after that lyric which succeeds the most out of the three. Beginning with Follin's cries of "Dying on the inside", Abraham soon makes his most tortured appearance, yelping, "It can't be comfortable when the whole thing's about to fall." Far and away, this is the most poignant moment on the album. An unrelated but significant side-note is that Abraham also declares that "The new lyrics follow the same old meter." And interestingly enough, many of Abraham's lyrics throughout the album do follow similar rhythmic patterns. But this only serves to further the cohesiveness -- characterized not only by the aforementioned but similar guitar tones and song structures as well -- of David Comes to Life.

That concludes the album's first, and arguably strongest, act. Its second, however, is by no means bad. "Running on Nothing" is the highlight, with its catchy 50's rock guitar riffing, and "A Slanted Tone", with its brief acoustic guitar intro, is another solid tune and one of David Comes to Life's fastest. Despite all this, it is here and in the third act where the album drags most. It's simply due to a couple of lesser (but still good) tracks which don't help distract the listener from the album's length. Yet despite the bit of unevenness in the second and third acts, it's impossible to penalize Fucked Up too heavily, because there is just so much to explore. And because of that, David Comes to Life is an album with unquestionable lasting value.

The fourth and final act is probably the second best of the four. Its only real fault is that "One More Night" is so good that closer "Lights Go Up" is a bit of a letdown. Yet the positives of "One More Night" far outweigh the negatives of the track's placement. It's truly an anthem. Soaring guitar lines complement accented drumming and Abraham's violent, defiant bark until Abraham's shouts of "I don't wanna be right / Just one more night" enter the mix and the guitars are left to ring out. It feels so much like the album's conclusion; perhaps that's why "Lights Go Up" is disappointing, merely because the listener doesn't want to hear anymore of anything. But that's a small price to pay for such a well-conceived album by one of the best bands operating in punk music.

Track Listing1. Let Her Rest
2. Queen of Hearts
3. Under My Nose
4. The Other Shoe
5. Turn the Season
6. Running on Nothing
7. Remember My Name
8. A Slanted Tone
9. Serve Me Right
10. Truth I Know
11. Life in Paper
12. Ship of Fools
13. A Little Death
14. I Was There
15. Inside a Frame
16. The Recursive Girl
17. One More Night
18. Lights Go Up

Recommended If You Likepunk music; concept albums
This review is a user submitted review from DJWildefire. You can see all of DJWildefire's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 12 of 12
10:04 PM on 08/04/11
#2
DJWildefire
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02:12 AM on 08/08/11
#3
OnaedInSpace
she sucked and sucked and sucked.
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I am not into all this "omg great review" business, but this was a great piece to read. Super.
09:58 PM on 08/09/11
#4
Steeeve Perry
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Great review. I have tried to follow the storyline as well, and am curious to know where you got the idea they were bulding a bomb together and it exploded, killing Veronica.
08:01 PM on 08/10/11
#5
DJWildefire
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Great review. I have tried to follow the storyline as well, and am curious to know where you got the idea they were bulding a bomb together and it exploded, killing Veronica.
Thanks to both of you for the kind words. As for where I got the idea, the lyrics repeatedly mention sparks. There's also a lot of talk of the other shoe. The saying "waiting for the other shoe to drop" is essentially like saying "waiting for the bomb to drop" and while the latter is both hyperbolic and metaphoric, a more literal analysis is applicable here because of the talk of destruction ("He's the forest kissed by flames/the trees die so they can grow again"; "it can't be comfortable when the whole thing's about to fall"; "watch the tower as it starts to teeter"), martyrdom ("to make a move on these doubts about how this messiah thing would shake out") and the sparks ("when she placed it in his hand, people must've seen the sparks"; "things wouldn't end without a spark"). David's discontent with his job and society is also described in detail in "Queen of Hearts" and it seems as though he's yearning for something to shake up the area ("all we need is for something to give/the dam bursts open, we suddenly live"). As for Veronica's death it's pretty explicitly stated in "Turn the Season" ("Now there's only darkness, there is no dawn/now that she's gone") and tying the death into the explosion of the bomb comes from the "things wouldn't end without a spark" line. Those are the steps I took to confirm what seems to be the general consensus about the plot.
10:27 PM on 08/10/11
#6
Steeeve Perry
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Thanks to both of you for the kind words. As for where I got the idea, the lyrics repeatedly mention sparks. There's also a lot of talk of the other shoe. The saying "waiting for the other shoe to drop" is essentially like saying "waiting for the bomb to drop" and while the latter is both hyperbolic and metaphoric, a more literal analysis is applicable here because of the talk of destruction ("He's the forest kissed by flames/the trees die so they can grow again"; "it can't be comfortable when the whole thing's about to fall"; "watch the tower as it starts to teeter"), martyrdom ("to make a move on these doubts about how this messiah thing would shake out") and the sparks ("when she placed it in his hand, people must've seen the sparks"; "things wouldn't end without a spark"). David's discontent with his job and society is also described in detail in "Queen of Hearts" and it seems as though he's yearning for something to shake up the area ("all we need is for something to give/the dam bursts open, we suddenly live"). As for Veronica's death it's pretty explicitly stated in "Turn the Season" ("Now there's only darkness, there is no dawn/now that she's gone") and tying the death into the explosion of the bomb comes from the "things wouldn't end without a spark" line. Those are the steps I took to confirm what seems to be the general consensus about the plot.
Ok cool, I quite like that the story is complex and often cryptic, whereas rock operas such as Tommy and American Idiot are easy to follow.
I asked because I have felt as though Fucked Up didn't want us to know how she died, only that it happened. Then again in 'I was there' it becomes obvoius it was a bomb blast, now I've listened again. Whether or not it was accidentally self-inflicted or she was just an innocent victim I'm not 100 per cent sure.
What do you think of the interaction between David and Octavious? I'm struggling to work out Octavious's motivations for making David feel worse about Veronica's death and why they end up fighting on Ship of Fools (also, whether it's a real fight or just one for control over the opera).
Is it because it is Octavious' fault she died, since he is the narrator?
07:22 PM on 08/11/11
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DJWildefire
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Ok cool, I quite like that the story is complex and often cryptic, whereas rock operas such as Tommy and American Idiot are easy to follow.
I asked because I have felt as though Fucked Up didn't want us to know how she died, only that it happened. Then again in 'I was there' it becomes obvoius it was a bomb blast, now I've listened again. Whether or not it was accidentally self-inflicted or she was just an innocent victim I'm not 100 per cent sure.
What do you think of the interaction between David and Octavious? I'm struggling to work out Octavious's motivations for making David feel worse about Veronica's death and why they end up fighting on Ship of Fools (also, whether it's a real fight or just one for control over the opera).
Is it because it is Octavious' fault she died, since he is the narrator?
The way I interpreted it is that Octavio is just trying to come clean and they fight because Octavio had a hand in Veronica's death.
11:11 PM on 08/11/11
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Steeeve Perry
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The way I interpreted it is that Octavio is just trying to come clean and they fight because Octavio had a hand in Veronica's death.
Yes but I am uncertain of what his involvement was? As I asked before, is it just because he is the narrator, so she died because that's how he read the script?
11:41 AM on 08/12/11
#9
DJWildefire
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Yes but I am uncertain of what his involvement was? As I asked before, is it just because he is the narrator, so she died because that's how he read the script?
To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure either, at least not from just reading/analyzing the lyrics. But the narrator theory is an interesting take on it.
It seems like Fucked Up focused more on the feelings of the characters in the lyrics rather than laundry-listing plot points.
10:45 PM on 08/12/11
Steeeve Perry
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To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure either, at least not from just reading/analyzing the lyrics. But the narrator theory is an interesting take on it.
It seems like Fucked Up focused more on the feelings of the characters in the lyrics rather than laundry-listing plot points.
Yeah I definitely agree, which makes it more of an authentic 'opera' as well, rather than just a story. Thanks for the chat, I've been hoping someone else was enthralled with this release enough to analyse it for comparison! Of course, it is easy to set all that aside and just rock the fuck out! Tracks 8 and 9 really do out-punk anything else released lately on their own!
11:57 PM on 08/13/11
DJWildefire
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Yeah I definitely agree, which makes it more of an authentic 'opera' as well, rather than just a story. Thanks for the chat, I've been hoping someone else was enthralled with this release enough to analyse it for comparison! Of course, it is easy to set all that aside and just rock the fuck out! Tracks 8 and 9 really do out-punk anything else released lately on their own!
Yeah exactly. No problem man, it's fun to discuss creative records like these, where so much is left open for interpretation. Fucked Up is such an exciting band to see progress and they always put out great music.
03:33 PM on 10/01/11
yeamusic21
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this band is blowing up and rightfuly so!!

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