Fucked Up: Year of the Hare

Can a 23-minute long track with acoustic interludes be the best punk song of the decade?

Fucked Up

Year of the Hare

Label: Deathwish
US Release Date: 2015-06-16
UK Release Date: 2015-06-16

The Onion’s hardcore little sibling, The Hard Times, is occasionally a little too on the nose with their jabs. Just like The Onion’s vicious take downs of politics, The Hard Times’ biting sarcasm of all things punk can get a bit real. Such was the case when they claimed that Deafheaven regularly fell asleep at their own shows, or when they announced “Fucked Up to Release New EP on Clay Pot”.

Fucked Up, from their name down, has never been an orthodox band. The Canadian oddballs’ best release was a punk-opera with an unreliable narrator and a plot line that did to the 4th wall what Damian Abraham’s howls do to the vocal cords. Between that and their now legendary 12-hour (!) show in 2008, Fucked Up might be the most unpredictable band in punk. The Hard Times’ article, though, was poking fun at their Chinese Zodiac EP series, a set of monolithic songs released each year to honor “Year of the 'X'”. Last year’s “Year of the Dragon” was a thrashing and massive beast, a proper tribute to the scaly title reptile. “Year of the Hare” also reflects its titular critter, with Fucked Up making a bouncing, bounding song that gleefully leaps from idea to idea over its 23 minutes.

Fucked Up can play it soft, but the opening of “Year of the Hare” starts as an uncharacteristic whisper. A gentle electronic hum and the slight shifting of wind all flow through the sound before twin acoustic guitars lay out the main melody. It’s a folky and gorgeous sort of interlude, light-years away from “Year of the Dragon”. The only hints of something more vicious are the occasional packets of sound, teleported from future portions of the song, interjecting with blaring rock. The guitars slowly fill the sound before fading and giving way to a pallor hall piano that plays a theme straight out of classic heist film The Sting. It seems to have been recorded from a far distance away, both in space and time. It gently meanders around, giving a nostalgic, near melancholy feel to a song that will soon be bursting at the seams with electric energy. Sure enough, those random interjections of violence finally flesh out into a full band romp, a crashing and thrashing thing that evolves into the true center of “Year of the Hare”. For the attention deficient, the five-plus minute build-up might be unbearable, but for those with more patience, the long wait only makes the slicing introduction to the full band that much more thrilling.

The guitar attack of Mike Haliechuk and Josh Zucker might be playing the same theme from the stripped-down segment, but here it’s filled with fiery energy, matching the yowls of Abraham, who examines the effects of time and creates surreal Groundhog Day scenarios. “Mad as a march hare, two days late / They stole all my time and ate all my space / A thousand rabbits with a million heirs / It's always tea time in the year of the hare”, goes the chorus. Fucked Up have always had a flair for the anthemic, but this Alice in Wonderland-style biting roar is one of their finest and catchiest. Even those with delicate vocal sensibilities might find themselves screaming along to Abraham.

After a blistering guitar solo, Fucked Up give us a false ending that segues into a more staccato and tension filled section. Fellow Canadian Isla Craig takes over the mic, her strong, warm performance proving the perfect counterpoint to Abraham’s madness. While Abraham flailed about, looking for a way out of a time loop, Craig beautifully meditates, her voice slowly growing in time with the music’s slow burn. It’s steely, stoic, and graceful and it can’t last for long. It eventually explodes back into the main theme, but not before reaching its own golden climax, full of a multitude of Craigs singing over glowing guitars.

“California Cold” is tacked on next to “Year of the Hare” and, in comparison, its eight minute run time feels down right restrained. Even though it’s got plenty of guitar licks and drum fills, it’s the cool down from the marathon "Year of the Hare”. In particular, the sweetly psychedelic guitar solo that leads the song’s second half is mesmerizing and tranquil, the perfect setting to float away in.

Still, “Year of the Hare” is the real reason you’re here. A stunning rock song that feels like a long lost classic, “Year of the Hare” has ten times the ambition of most songs in any genre, and its sprawl, scope and daunting raucousness further cement Fucked Up as mad geniuses. It's sheer exuberance and brilliance in equal force.






A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.


The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.


Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.


Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.


Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.


'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.