One of the amazing things I’ve found with Spotify is that it doesn’t break the bank to keep on trying music you’ve never heard before. You know how you click through links on websites like Amazon to see what other folk have read and enjoyed who also enjoyed the stuf you liked? It’s a time-consuming business really because what Spotify is doing apart from rewarding procrastination is encouraging curiosity.
The last ‘big concept’ album I listened to was Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ and that was sometime around the celebrations over the destruction of The Berlin Wall .ie. what feels like a very long time ago.
I like the idea of a band called ‘Fucked Up‘. It’s offensive and deliberately divisive. Obviously, this is punk music but is far from the three-chord concept of The Ramones as it’s possible to get. This is hardcore but with an ambition that reaches beyond the local fans. Weighing-in at 78 minutes for what is a four act play set in Thatcher’s Britain – with meta-narrative – requires no small commitment from the listener and that must have been the band’s intention. Good music should take a commitment from the listener: you can’t doze off when you’re reading a book, right?
I’ve been made to listen to the sort of anodyne Autotuned nonsense that passes for ‘music’ so often – even in the workspace – that it should be classed as abuse. Those who can see no wrong in claiming that less-than-talented vocalists like Katherine Jenkins can sing (by which I mean can not only stay in tune while singing but actually project personality with conviction) should avoid this album. One thing Damien Abraham’s vocals are not is Autotuned. He has the sort of primal growl that causes granny to have palpitations as she grumbles that ‘BT are digging up them roads again…’ and on this album, it works perfectly. Simply put, men do not sound like Chris Martin warbling over a twinkling piano or that other witless spod, James Blunt.
The David of the narrative is troubled by the same rage and frustration that every man is expected to keep buried beneath the civilised facade of modern working life. Abraham has used his limited vocal range to good effect and his trademark growl is set in harmony with the perfect counterpoint of vocals from the likes of Madeline Follin (of NY band, Cults) but the guitars… I simply don’t believe the story that the manager is the only one who knows how to tune a guitar. Three guys on guitars sound like a full symphony on this record.
This is not easy listening. This is great listening.