Fucked Up - Year of the Tiger [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Fucked Up

Year of the Tiger [12-inch] (2012)


On Year of the Tiger, Fucked Up's fifth of 12 EPs based off the Chinese Zodiac, the band stretches out and for the first time in a while, allows themselves to get really sonically weird.

While their last LP, David Comes to Life, was grand on a conceptual scale, the songs themselves were fairly compact. By contrast, Tiger opens with a soaring, clean rush of guitar that hangs in the air for minutes, and in the best possible way echoes Rush's early '80s synthesizer-crossbred-with-guitar output.

When burly vocalist Damian Abraham's voice kicks in, the biggest contrast between David and this release is immediately clear. Where on David Damian's voice seemed to clash against the album's clean tone, here, his huge growl seeps into the avalanche of sound, wrapping the two together, creating maybe the band's most cohesive sound to date.

Once the band establishes the sonic theme, they seamlessly flow into the variations. Famous alt-filmmaker Jim Jarmusch appears out of nowhere to allay some obtuse proclamations. Then, as the song continues to shift, co-vocalists Kate Stekmanis and Annie-Claude Deschenes drift in with a sweet sirens call. Most interestingly, as with the music, their voice doesn't clash with the molasses and glass howling of Abraham so much as bind together with it.

The flipside features the band's most avant-garde piece to date. In David's sleeve notes, the band named the Melvins as an influence and it shows. "OnnO" is 23 minutes that isn't so much a song as it is a sonic movie. Without vocals or even a fixed beat, the song washes forward in a collection of rising and falling tones, which drift from white noise to backmasking. Then, just at midpoint, the song shifts into a reverse version of itself.

As the band seems to be more and more congruent with its own pieces, they are getting weirder and weirder. Perfect.