Fucked Up's highly anticipated fourth studio album, Glass Boys, is finally out today. You can stream it above.
Glass Boys is Fucked Up's second concept album, including 2011's David Comes to Life. Already, the band shared the J Mascis-featuring "Led By Hand," as well as music videos for "Paper The House" and "Sun Glass." The version of the song that appeared in the "Sun Glass" video had a pulsating, driving force. However, the version of the track that made it on the album was slower and groovier. It may just be the change in drum beat, but it makes all the difference in the world, and it's what sets Glass Boys apart from other Fucked Up albums.
Fucked Up is known for juxtaposing beautiful soundscapes with harsh vocals, and Glass Boys is no different, but also sees the band take from proto-punk garage bands such as The Stooges and MC5. Even the first chords of album opener "Echo Boomer" recall The Who. In a promotional video released by Matador Records, members of Fucked Up, Wavves, Best Coast and Diiv talk about what it was like when they discovered music. Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham explained, "I felt angry about how the world worked and I finally found a voice to that anger." Later in the video, he continued, "I needed this music a lot more when I was younger." Abraham didn't go into detail about which bands he was talking about, but he doesn't need to because you can hear the influences embedded in Glass Boys.
"Warm Change" may be the best example of this. It sounds like a psychedelic, hard rock jam The Stooges would play. It relies on heaviness instead of speed. The guitar solo that occurs halfway through has a thin, nasally tone that distorted guitars had in the 1960s. Another example is the driving snare-bass-snare-bass rhythm of "Det," which recalls The Monks' "Black Monk Time."
The most beautiful track on the album is the titular closing track, which begins with layer upon layer of distorted guitars that chime like bells. It slowly reveals itself as the chiming turns into the main guitar riff over a slow grove. Halfway through the song, the band takes a step back and plays even slower. The band shines when Abraham and rhythm guitarist Josh Zucker harmonize. As Abraham ferociously growls, Zucker softly chirps. Towards the end of "Glass Boys," the two sing, "There's a tunnel at the end of the light where you will find me." The song then breaks apart and slowly evolves into a gentle piano ballad that fades the album out.