Just a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about the fact that it has been a while since I really sank my teeth into a new punk album. My desire for heavier, darker music often comes around as Ottawa starts to get properly cold, and this year is no exception. Sure enough the Canadian music world threw a show in front of me that piqued my interest, and a few moments later I was thrashing around to a fresh release from a punk band previously unknown to me. Fucked Up’s Dose Your Dreams is an epic journey as hardcore as it is melodic, and I have been unable to get it out of my head since the beginning of November.
From the anthemic opening of “None of Your Business Man” to the album’s soaring, climactic closer, Dose Your Dreams never relinquishes its grasp. I find it fairly rare that a record as lengthy as this one (1:22:08) is able to keep me fully hooked for its entire duration, but Fucked Up’s fifth album boasts incredible diversity in songwriting while maintaining a central identity. Dose Your Dreams has clearly been conceived as a single unit form start to finish, without a moment that feels out of place. If you pulled certain songs out of the album and listened to them individually, they might seem completely unrelated, but within the progression of the record, a distant cousin becomes an inseparable sibling. I would never have seen the pure groove of the title track coming, but now I can’t imagine the album without it.
One thing I adore about this record is how the growling vocals of Damian Abraham are given additional melodic life from the other band members. Sometimes, the guitar work mirrors a melody that is only hinted at in the lead vocals. Sometimes it’s the host of backup vocalists that layer in harmonies to fill out the sound. They complete the feat in many different ways over the course of the album, allowing them to maintain that sheer hardcore intensity while sticking musical phrases in your mind that will refuse to leave. They also know when to throw in a necessary ear break with smoother lead vocals or a spacey, chilled out segment.
Seeing Fucked Up live was the perfect way to welcome colder weather (even though their set was very short), and if you don’t have the opportunity to see them, Dose Your Dreams is a fine substitute. It captures the unmatched live energy of punk while offering a depth of production that will have you discovering new elements after many playthroughs. It’s fucking awesome.