Album Review
Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life Album Cover

Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life

Reviewed by
Fucked UpThe Chemistry of Common Life
Record Label: Matador
Release Date: October 7, 2008
It’s always been tough to put your finger on exactly why it is that Fucked Up rule so much more than other groups in their field of punk rock. Their cult-like legions of fans might tell you it’s because the group’s got so much to offer: they’re so prolific that they released 26 EP’s in the span of 4 years, and now have got a couple of albums as well. But as anybody who has ever heard Ryan Adams knows, flooding the market with every single thought that pops into your head isn’t always the most exciting move you could make in the music world. Whatever your definition of the group’s awesomeness may have been, I think it’s fair to say that with The Chemistry of Common Life, everything has changed. And for the [even] better.

Since the album kicks off with a piccolo solo, you ought to know right away that you’re in for something new. The contrast that thin melody makes against the rest of this sonically loaded disc is amazing, and the opening scream might knock you out of your seat because it’s so totally unexpected. It’s true that this, the opener “Son the Father”, is the best song on the album, but you better believe that there’s plenty more to keep listening for after it wraps up. The chorus line of “It’s hard enough being born in the first place – who would ever wanna be born again?” reflects a major theme of the album, which is the idea of wasting one’s life in the blind pursuit of God. You might dig that concept or you might not, but chances are if you’re in the market for a Christian rock album you wouldn’t be listening to groups with names like Fucked Up anyways.

With insane washes of instrumentation, such as the 18-guitar overkill of “No Epiphany”, this is as complex of an album as has ever graced the genre…seriously. There’s not much you can compare these tracks to. The blankets upon blankets of haze at the front of that same excellent aforementioned tune will most likely remind you of shoegaze groups like (the shoegaze group) My Blood Valentine, but the aggression is still there, and Fucked Up hardly sound like they’d be wallflowers at a concert.

Unlike other ballsy monikered groups like Fuck Buttons or Holy Fuck, Fucked Up’s name actually fits their brand of explosive punk rock, especially since it’s a suitable description of vocalist Pink Eyes (which is like, a little bit less suitable of a name), whose vocals recall Fear’s Lee Ving in terms of the excellent gritty frontman sound. The last few years have shown us that anybody can yell into a microphone and it’ll sell a couple albums, but this is really something remarkable. You’ve got these harsh vocals and an ocean of melody beneath them; it’s remarkable.

By the time you realize that you can connect the horn crescendos in “Days of Last” to the Who’s “Armenia, City in the Sky”, it’s clear this is a keeper. The Chemistry of Common Life is a unique and amazing album worthy of the Matador label. Go out of your way to hear this.

Don’t Believe Me?


Recommended If You Like:

Fear, Static Thought, My Bloody Valentine
This review is a user submitted review from OKComputer1016. You can see all of OKComputer1016's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 24
01:29 PM on 11/04/08
Registered User
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MorganAlex16's Avatar
I listened to this and definitely did not feel the same way. Maybe this just was not for me.
01:32 PM on 11/04/08
this is success-this is how we feel
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OKComputer1016's Avatar
That's ok, it is pretty out-on-a-limb, so it might either isolate some fans or freak out some punk rockers. But I liked it for being so experimental.
01:45 PM on 11/04/08
Registered User
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phoenixinflames's Avatar
Yeah, it's definitely different, but I love it.
02:17 PM on 11/04/08
Peel slowly and see
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bung's Avatar
I'm really not much for the harder side of punk, but this is a great album!
02:30 PM on 11/04/08
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llmp's Avatar
I definitely need to give it more listens, but I was pretty disappointed when comparing this to their other full length.
02:39 PM on 11/04/08
Back from '09
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WakeUpBlondie's Avatar
Love it, but their name won't get them anywhere, need to change
03:06 PM on 11/04/08
Matthew Tsai
Born and raised
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Matthew Tsai's Avatar
true. someday, when they get bigger, they're going to have to change their name
03:37 PM on 11/04/08
she sucked and sucked and sucked.
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OnaedInSpace's Avatar
you convinced me, ima check this out
04:22 PM on 11/04/08
Regular Member
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Wez1212Yes's Avatar
The best punk band out there right now alongside The King Blues and probably the best since Refused. All the best punk bands are the ones that don't sound that punk, afterall, the ones that go out and try to sound punk are just as bad as the idols they ridicule and try too hard, you know fans invent rules in what is supposed to be a no rule environment.
04:37 PM on 11/04/08
Blake Solomon
every outcome's such a comedown
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Blake Solomon's Avatar
Love it, but their name won't get them anywhere, need to change

i would say they are already "somewhere", although I didn't really care for this album
05:39 PM on 11/04/08
I wouldn't know.
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theDrivingSnow's Avatar
Good review. Good album. The end.
05:43 PM on 11/04/08
Registered User
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timothyonfire's Avatar
I don't think they really give a care about their name preventing them from going places. Nice review! Totally share the same view, such an amazing listen. It's nice when you find something new every time you listen to it.
10:54 PM on 11/04/08
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No Avatar Selected
One of my albums of the year without a doubt.
03:38 AM on 11/05/08
TJ Wells
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TJ Wells's Avatar
This album is fan-TASTIC, but I was really surprised what a high score Pitchfork gave it. 8.8, I believe.

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