Taking the idea of a concept album to the next level, the always prolific Fucked Up went the distance for David Comes to Life. Leading up to this 78-minute double album, they released four 7” singles (packaged with eight unreleased songs related to the story), and a compilation record titled David’s Town, for which guest artists accompanied the Canadian punks as they pretended to be various fictional Brit-pop bands. This concept was a long time coming, and after writing a few songs about the main character David Eliade on previous singles “David Christmas" and “David’s Plan,” the band fleshed out a full story line from his perspective. In the fictional town of Byrdesdale Spa UK, David has a humdrum life working at a light bulb factory, and finds an escape by falling in love with a communist rebel rouser, only to find out later that she has died in a terrorist bombing and that he has a lot of emotional turmoil to face. Of course, like all good Who, ELO, and Kinks rock operas, the plot becomes convoluted, even if you are able to decipher the words. Pink Eyes’ forceful, monotone, bulldog growl makes this especially difficult. Still, even if you can only pick apart specific lyrical fragments, the themes work on a universal scale as well as they do in a literal context. And up against these brick-house arrangements, the script is just an added bonus. The playing is versatile and volatile, with new member Young Governor (Ben Cook) adding to the wall of distortion created by fellow guitarists Gulag (Josh Zucker), and 10,000 Marbles (Mike Haliechek.) Guest backing vocalists Kurt Vile, Jennifer Castle, and Madeline Follin give the songs a hint of melody, but otherwise, David Comes to Life is the musical equivalent of a bullhorn and a blender, and all the more awesome for it. The 18 songs on the album are all in the heavily layered, chamber-hardcore style established on Chemistry of Common Life, but Fucked Up is taking the idea to the furthest reaches, and somehow pulling it off.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jason Lymangrover