Canadian punks strip back the prog elements.

For some people familiar with Fucked Up’s early work, the Toronto hardcore band’s move into the world of concept albums, rock operas, and of incorporating prog rock into their sound with their last couple of albums, ‘The Chemistry of Modern Life’ and ‘David Comes to Life’, was challenging, if perhaps not particularly surprising. While you can’t consider ‘Glass Boys’ to be a punishing hardcore record by any means, it’s certainly a leaner, more streamlined animal than their previous two albums. The majority of the songs here are under four minutes. Damian Abraham’s raw, almost-guttural yet well-enunciated vocals stamp all over opening track ‘Echo Boomer’ and throughout the rest of the record. As well as demonstrating elements of left-field American punk and classic rock, another interesting aspect of ‘Glass Boys’ is the incorporation of two separate Jonah Falco drum tracks; one at half time and one at full time. This gives the music more body. Additionally, the deluxe vinyl edition includes a second LP of the full album with the drums solely played at half time. It’s an intriguing experiment but the main result is that some of the rougher edges are shaved off and it sounds more commercial and radio-friendly as there’s more clarity around Abraham’s vocals and the songs sound less hectic. Disregarding the second LP, ‘Glass Boys’ sees Fucked Up providing some of their most energetic, anthemic, and urgent material in recent years.
Paul Hagen