2008 saw Fu**ed Up establish themselves as an increasingly talked about act; NME touted them (for at least five minutes) and they featured in a number of end of year `Best of...'s; notably reaching 17 in Pitchfork's end of year round up, whilst the Onion's A.V. Club made it their number two album of 2008 (with only TV On The Radio ahead of them).
This Canadian outfit emerged from Toronto's hardcore scene having formed way back in 2002 and have established a growing reputation as something special. Hidden World, their previous double album from 2006, attracted sufficient interest to ensure that they were signed to Matador.
Chemistry... is undoubtedly hardcore, but it's also ambitious, epic and hugely impressive. Opening track Son The Father sets the tone with it's furious call and response vocal, massive riff and strident condemnation of religion. Vocalist Pink Eyes (all the band employ bizarre monikers such as 10,000 marbles) gravelly vocal style won't be to everyone's taste, but adds to the sense of anger in tracks like Crooked Head. Relatively straightforward tracks like Days Of Last, mix with delicate instrumental numbers like Golden Seal. The band's three guitarists are well used, laying down dense, complex textures, notably on No Epiphany. Comparisons have been made to Husker Dü and these are valid; not perhaps in terms of sound, but in terms of sheer ambition and desire to really redefine their genre. Chemistry... is a hugely rewarding record; it's complexity ensures that you constantly notice different elements, and it deserves to reach a wider audience.
Fu**ed Up's label, Matador are very good at offering free MP3s of their acts and selections from this album have been available of late. Finally, it's pleasant to buy a CD where the album art is a thing of beauty; 2008 seems to have been a year of interesting releases marred by rubbish artwork.