Our first stop on the Polaris Prize short list journey is easily the most vulgar. Fucked Up’s David Comes to Life is the follow up to the 2009 Polaris Prize winning album The Chemistry of Common Life. If you were given one word to describe Fucked Up it would have to be contrast. Their music features lush, bright guitar parts and vocal harmonies sitting behind an angry guy yelling: and it’s beautiful. On first glance one would think that the vocal style would take away from the character and message of the music, but in reality it adds to it, creating an entirely new texture that helps create the contrast. Some stand out tracks on the album includes Queen of Hearts, Turn the Season, and Lights Go Up.
What makes David Comes to Life exceptional is that it is a concept album. While first listening to the album it may be hard to follow the story that lead singer Damian Abraham crafts over 78 minutes, 18 tracks, and 4 acts in what is described by them as a “rock opera”. The idea behind a hardcore punk band doing a rock opera goes back to contrast. They wanted to show what a genre viewed as indulgent and over the top would look like in the hands of a band that is nothing like the hair metal bands of the 70’s and 80’s. This rock opera is hardly a sing along, but the way that they sing/yell/scream and the smooth, smart transitions help to quickly drive the love story between David and Veronica. Following along in the liner notes the band gives you the barebones of the story in short captions before each song, but to truly delve into the story and become immersed in this world they have created you need to follow along and read, listen, and feel as the band takes you on the journey of David coming to life, eventually, with love in his heart.