Fucked Up: Glass Boys

Toronto punks consolidate rather than innovate.

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In what surely represents a recording industry first, Fucked Up have elected to release their fourth full-length album in two formats, the standard edition coming with a second disc featuring Jonah Falco’s drums slowed down to half-speed. Impressively, this detracts very little from the quintet’s ferocity, but this quirky gimmick does rather hint at a certain understanding that Glass Boys is the first Fucked Up album to require ‘added value’.

The Toronto quintet’s three albums to date – 2006’s Hidden World, 2008’s The Chemistry Of Common Life and 2011’s David Comes To Life – are extraordinary records, releases which re-defined the boundaries of hardcore punk in dazzling, dizzying terms. The deftly executed Glass Boys, by comparison, is a fine punk rock record, but no more than that.

Damian ‘Pink Eyes’ Abraham remains the genre’s most compelling frontman, and Mike ’10,000 Marbles’ Haliechuk’s ability to make his guitar sing is second to none, but as excellent as songs like Paper The House, Sun Glass and the thrilling title track are, they represent variations on past themes rather than bold new horizons. Fine for lesser bands, but perhaps unfairly, from Fucked Up we expect more.