Year of the Tiger
06 February 2012
by Alex Andrews
Given that their last commitment to tape was an 82-minute ‘rock opera’, chronicling the haphazard love life of an English factory worker, you could be forgiven for thinking that Fucked Up had exhausted all channels for experimentation. You’d be wrong, of course, as the latest instalment from the band’s largely hit-and-miss Zodiac series may well be their finest to date.
Recorded in the same sessions that spawned the aforementioned David Comes To Life LP, the cast of collaborators on Year of the Tiger includes Annie-Claude Deschênes of Canadian dance-punk band, Duchess Says, and vertically-haired film director, Jim Jarmusch. On the A-side title-track, the Toronto six-piece build upon the bombastic ‘bar band’ sound of their third album. As always, Damien Abraham’s growl is as mighty as the tiger depicted in the lyrics, and the song builds emphatically throughout its 15-minute duration, combining densely layered guitars with the simple plonking of a piano.
Though fans will testify that you can generally only trust Fucked Up as far as you can throw them, it’s been hard to ignore the band’s guitarist and predominant songwriter, Mike Haliechuck, vocally proclaiming his preference for dance music over the years. Incidentally, B-side ‘ONNO’, is the closest the band has come to making a dance track of their own. It’s as noisy and disorientating as My Bloody Valentine, but the 22-minute instrumental is propelled by a hypnotic energy rarely heard in guitar music. Completely unlike anything the band has recorded before, the track makes heavy use of repetition and is haunted by a ghostly synth melody that floats between the layers of feedback and reversed drums.
Sounds Like: A punk band trying to get away with as much as they can.
Standout Tracks: It’s only two tracks long. C’MON GUYS.