- Fucked Up: David Comes to Life (Matador, 2011) - The basics of this record, the whirlwind guitars, the propulsive rhythm section and Pink Eyes' growling vocal, have been there for a while. It seems that their decision to write an opera of sorts -- which story you'll need a lyric sheet to follow -- has helped them to focus those elements into catchier, more purposeful tunes while at the same time expanding their palette sonically. As a lyrics person, vocals such as Pink Eyes' could be a barrier, as one may only catch the odd phrase here and there. Sometimes that's enough, of course, but one may tire over several songs. Here, the music kept dragging me back and demanded my attention for sustained listening. I'm glad it did, and I'm glad I have the lyrics too. Hardcore doesn't come much more ambitious than this without losing its intended punch. Some have compared the music on David... to Hüsker Dü, and although only "A Slanted Tone" sounds like it could be a Hüskers song, in terms of sweeping, big, emotionally engaging punk rock, the analogy is appropriate. 8*
* Grades are tentative, based on three or four listens, though quite often a few more. Much of the writing is done during listens, and should be considered notes rather than final reviews.