Fucked Up is probably the best punk band with national
distribution 2008 has to offer. The incendiary Canadians built a reputation on
limited-run EPs and contrarian aesthetics, but entered the indie-public’s
consciousness with the 2006 release of Hidden
World on Jade Tree. But despite the lengthy average duration of its songs, Hidden World, sounded pretty
straightforward. It never got boring, but it never pushed too far, either.
Enter “Year of the Pig,” title track to a 2007 12” single.
The 18-and-a-half minute suite blends Jennifer Castle’s calm, childlike vocals
with Pink Eyes’ phlegm-gurgling growls; smoldering, suspended riffs with scathing
distortion; plodding marches with surging rhythmic rushes. And sequenced as the
opener for Matador’s repackaging of the single with its seven-inch edits from
the US, UK and Japan, plus one new song (“Mustaa Lunta”), “Year of The Pig”
becomes not only a true epic song, but ties the record together by reprising
itself between tracks to create a sometimes confounding, always exhilarating 44
minutes of punk rock. Original b-side “The Black Hats” pushes its elastic
rhythms through a dense mat of interwoven guitars. A low-rent Ramones
melodicism and Pink Eyes’ snotty grumblings cast “Anorak
City” as a seedier “Rockaway Beach.”
And Year of the Pig (2008) becomes a
powerful, lasting entry in the punk and indie rock canons.
Standout Tracks: “Year of the Pig,” “The Black Hats,” “Anorak City”