F***** Up The Chemistry of Common Life Review

Released 2008.  

BBC Review

It's hardcore that shouldn't stay underground.

Amanda Farah 2008

Hardcore punk has always been known for drama, intensity and notes that can't really be discerned, helmed by someone shouting into a microphone. F***** Up are a new breed of hardcore band. They encapsulate all of the energy that makes hardcore exciting, yet show a level of craft that dwarfs the old school punks. Their second full length, The Chemistry of Common Life, keeps up the intensity of the hardcore tradition while revealing surprisingly nuanced rock songs. Shouted, guttural vocals that sound like they're coming from somewhere in the pit of lead singer Pink Eye's stomach tend to come to the forefront, but details betray a certain polish and technical know-how.

The delicate flute intro of album opener Son The Father bleeds into feedback giving no indication of what is to come; indeed, upon the impact of the layered guitars, the listener feels a little blindsided by the unexpected rush. Similar tricks are slipped in throughout the album, such as the hand drums on Magic Word and big orchestral sounds on Looking For God. But these details only complement the bright, rich guitars that are the base for each song.

For many potential listeners, the shouting might be the stumbling block. Although screaming is the main vocal technique, F***** Up play with different vocal styles in unexpected ways. There are church choir-styled backing vocals on No Epiphany that drive home the religious musings of the song, while twisted boy-girl harmonies on Royal Swan create the sound of someone spitting with fury over cabaret vocals. And if you came in on the refrain of ''I'll be your little mistake" on Black Albino Bones, you could swear you were listening to a chart-topping pop song. Perhaps intimidating for the band's name, The Chemistry of Common Life is more accessible than most hardcore, but still packs all the punch of the punk tradition. It's hardcore that shouldn't stay underground.

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