Fucked Up’s sprawling opus of 2011, David Comes to Life, was just that — a weighty, engulfing listen that topped year-end lists and led to rumours of the band calling it a day. With a lot less fanfare, Glass Boys, the band’s fourth full-length, has appeared. But, Fucked Up sound like they’re having boatloads of fun.

It would be easy to call this a “return to form,” as many are prone to do when a band makes a record seemingly for the pure joy of it and without any overarching mission. Yet, this is a band that constantly charts their own evolution, taking left turns on a whim — who could have predicted that we would hear Gordon Downie doing back-up vocals on the swinging “The Art of Patrons”? Glass Boys is no different. It’s a loose, even uncomplicated listen that doesn’t betray their hardcore roots.

At 42 minutes, it’s also an easily digestible listen that moves languidly. “Led by Hand” (featuring J Mascis) builds and burns, but never enters meandering territory. “The Great Divide” churns just as hard and album opener “Echo Boomer” features as forceful a riff as they have ever written. The triple-guitar attack moves in one forward motion and it’s impossible, yet again, not to get swept up in the band’s momentum. Whereas David Comes to Life called for a fist to be raised in defiance, Glass Boys is the sound of two hands stretched upwards and enjoying the ride.

By Joshua Kloke

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