Year of the Tiger
by Fucked Up
Released: 02/07/2012 | Label: Matador Records |
How do you survive as a hardcore punk band in this day and age? You stop being a hardcore punk band. Just when you thought Fucked Up couldn't get any more....different, they shake up the game again. Their obsession for animals continue on this epic EP, this time we are entering the eye of the tiger. Two tracks are all you get, one is 15 minutes long, the other is 22. This is the fifth installment in the Zodiac series, each record named after different years in the Chinese calendar.
The question with Fucked Up is always: Can you really do that? From concept albums to endless splits with both famous and underground bands they sure get around. Anyone who caught them live at Øya here in can attest to a band with incredible power and self confidence. It is almost impossible to bring the energy of punk from the tiny club to the massive stage, but raving around half-naked, stumbling in the pouring rain singer Damien kept us hanging on through the entire set.
Let us dissect the longest track first, it won't take long. "Onno" is almost half an hour of mid-tempo guitar drone, purely instrumental, totally uninspiring. It it what you would call a filler. The pattern of thought must be something like this: "Oh shit, B-side. What do we do? Well, I have this really long practice room jam that we could throw in there. Alright, let's hope no one flips the vinyl".
The A-side/title track can at least boast some vocals, but here is the problem: No amount of guitar layering can keep you hooked for the full 15 minutes it takes to build the song. It might be the mid-tempo speed, it might be the lack of a good chorus (something that Fucked Up tend to nail on other records).
This is not a record for the impatient listener. The tracks take ages to build, slow food is what's for dinner. Most of the vocals are left to the only female member, on the last full length it added some new dimensions, here it sounds uninspired.
So what happened? Why the evolution into a new style? Urges to go progressive psychedelic have probably been there all along. As hardcore kids and punks grow up and grow more mature, they are less ashamed of digging through their father's record collection from the 70's, growing increasingly jaded by two minutes of critical hyperblasts. Perhaps they want to open up their music to a larger audience. Who knows?
So once again we are in danger of reaching these crossroads. It is always tough when a band you love and respect gradually start to get overambitious and boring. I have been a sworn fan since I first heard The Chemistry of Common Life with it's great production and solid foundation of great songs. David Comes to Life was a harder nut to crack, but I came to enjoy a few of the tracks. You want to get into Fucked Up? Listen to the aforementioned albums and go LA-LA-LA with your fingers in your ears for the half hour it takes to play Year of the Tiger.