Dose Your Dreams
“In a crass way, there's so much content out there, for a band like us to really make a dent, it has to be this massive thing,” Mike Haliechuk, guitarist and principal songwriter for veteran Toronto punks Fucked Up, tells Apple Music. “It just makes sense that we make an album about a guy who lives in two different dimensions and get shown the world by a homeless, shamanistic, revolutionary old woman.”
This synopsis somehow undersells the scope of Dose Your Dreams, the band’s fifth full-length album and first in four years. Over 18 tracks, their second double-LP concept (after 2011’s David Comes To Life) weds hardcore punk ferocity and ethos with kitchen-sink maximalism, throwing keyboards, saxophones, aggressive dance beats, strings by Owen Pallett, and pure bubblegum at Damian Abraham’s signature growl. But far from trend-chasing, this aims directly for the kind of fans who, like Haliechuk and his bandmates, dedicated themselves to collecting punk records—culture they wanted as permanent fixtures in their lives. “There's always going to be someone listening to Fucked Up records, so they've got to last forever,” he says, equating the album’s vastness to a favorite sprawling novel or movie. “There's still a reason for you to take it in a year later. Big, weird records—that’s what punk is all about.”
There is no shortage of detail to revisit. Beyond the genre-mashing and narrative tracing the interdimensional adventures of the band’s longstanding protagonist David, Dose's expansiveness extends to personnel—as Haliechuk calls it, “universe-building.” Abraham is still front and center, but lead vocal turns from other band members, as well as guests like Miya Folick, J Mascis, and Alice Hansen, make Fucked Up seem like three or four bands at once.
Just don’t expect Haliechuk to have opinions about 2112 or Tommy. “I don’t know, I liked Led Zeppelin when I was a kid, and they would talk about wizards and whatever the fuck it was,” he says; if there is a common denominator to prog-rock forebears, it's simply ambition. “The dream of every artist is to make something that the world doesn't have.”