Though their roots are undoubtedly in old-school hardcore (check out the new rocket-fueled, Black Flag-biting 25-track compilation Couple Tracks: Singles 20002-2009), Fucked Up can’t be so easily pigeonholed. The Toronto six-piece obliterates punk’s traditional boundaries with confrontational live shows that flirt with fascist imagery as a lark while dipping into more experimental musical directions. The flute solo that opens 2008’s The Chemistry of Common Life certainly signals this. Their sprawling extravaganza explores everything — muscular walls of shoe-gazing fuzz, Eastern modal melodies, windy prog-guitar excursions, swelling washes of synthetic texture, ringing, hook-lined ’90s alt-rock — without sacrificing power or aggression, thanks to singer Pink Eyes’ feral sociopathic growl. While the spectrum of expression is impressive, more arresting is the deftness with which they pull it off. Chemistry’s songs were recorded as straight-ahead demos before being embellished with as many as 70 overdubbed tracks, bearing the weight like a building’s steel girder frame. Far from being loaded down or losing energy, the songs gain depth, ballast and nuance. It’s enough to earn a Polaris award, which is given to Canada’s best album, and establish Fucked Up as one of this generation’s most surprising and promising acts. They play the Dionysus Club (135 W. Lorain St., Oberlin, 440.775.8471, oberlin.edu/stuorg/sco/) at 10 p.m. Kurt Vile opens. Tickets: $7. — Chris Parker
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