F***** Up Couple Tracks Review

Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Hard-to-find cuts from the award-winning Canadian punks compiled.

Alex Deller 2010

It’s been a funny old journey for F***** Up, who grunted into life at the turn of the century and quickly became poster boys for the DIY punk rock underground thanks to a stream of excellent 7” records. Alongside fellow Torontonians Career Suicide the band managed to affect a volte-face for the hardcore community, demonstrating an encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre’s embryonic days that took in the likes of Poison Idea, Negative Approach and The Fix and spawned a sea of dreary imitators.

Recent times, of course, have seen the band make the curious transition from DIY kingpins to indie rock darlings. They shucked off many early fans with genre-buckling debut album Hidden World and lost a fair few more as they played with jaunty bongo breaks, chirpy flute toots and squelchy synth swells for Polaris Prize-winning follow-up effort The Chemistry of Common Life. Simultaneously, they were making top ten lists in publications whose editors had never before felt the psychotic urge to drop $100 on a copy of the Nubs EP.

Whilst the road from hardcore’s inner circle to mainstream popularity is a tricky task, littered with the corpses of past embarrassments (see: Necros, SSD, Junkyard...), F***** Up have somehow managed to maintain a grip on their credibility as they’ve courted the wider world, all while nurturing a fanaticism for the vinyl format. The spoils of this addiction are collected here, meaning if you’ve not had the cash, savvy or record player to warrant tracking down each blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em release you can still play catch-up with this amusingly-annotated collection.

Beginning with the knotted tendons and bunched fists of debut single No Pasaran and on through prime hardcore cuts like Generation and Dangerous Fumes, things take an oddturn with Triumph of Life, a sprawling tale of Darwinian ingenuity which makes for a difficult sing-along if you’re being buffeted around the circle pit. On the second disc, the band draw from a wider palette, offering up a clutch of twee covers alongside several more experimental numbers of their own, inimitable design. The band’s phlegm-clotted bark and crisp four-chord surges remain intact throughout, whilst at the same time appearing more refined and steadily more adventurous.

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