Fucked Up - The Year of the Pig EP

It’s difficult to work out what Fucked Up are aiming for.


Fucked Up have been setting the Canadian hardcore scene alight for years now, but only recently has a trickle of (mis)information reached the UK on this famously reclusive group. We know one guitarist works under the name of Concentration Camp. We know that drummer Mr. Jo has had to keep the band’s existence hidden from his father, as their moniker made him ‘want to vomit’. We also know of a secretive ‘fifth Beatle’, who reportedly offers spiritual guidance and the necessary ability to tune a guitar. For many though, this EP ‐ four versions of the 18 minute long ‘Year of the Pig’, thrown together with a few, less ambitious tracks ‐ will be the first time they hear the band.

The title track opens under false pretences, with Hammond organ and gentle female vocals. Proceedings are underpinned by a decidedly un-punk walking bass line, but the appearance of lead vocalist Pink Eyes two minutes in leaves an impression greater than that of a thousand detuned guitars. He bellows like a preacher, voice thick with phlegm and fury. With little concession to melody, he screams and growls his way through caustic lines such as ‘Suck the meat from the bones, leave the corpse on the floor!” Later, the song plods along with minor chords in the piano that Trent Reznor would be proud of, but interest is allowed to wane for far too long before the gears finally shift. The climax of machine gun bass and crashing drums takes more from QOTSA than The Damned, and goes some way to redeeming the fact that the song’s length is never properly justified.

The various b-sides on show here seem to indicate a lack of real direction. With its low production values and Mick Jones-style guitar heroics, ‘Mustaa Lunta’ could easily be an off-cut from ‘The Clash’, sans political sloganeering. ‘Anorak City’ is straight-up New Wave, while ‘For My Friends’ is wilfully obnoxious, tuneless nihilism (‘There’s no cure for AIDS / They can’t get rid of cancer’). In the cold light of the studio, the only real connecting features these songs share are a love of noise for its own sake, and the all-singing-all-drooling craziness of Pink Eyes.

Stripped of their mystique and incendiary live act, it’s difficult to work out what Fucked Up are aiming for. One thing is certain though ‐ nobody will be keeping them a secret for much longer.

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