I’ve scratched my head for the better part of eighteen years and continue to do so. What makes some hardcore so patently ho-hum while other bands sound like they’re, metaphorically, sticking a firecracker up a cat’s ass so the explosion happens right in front of you, claws are flying every which way, and it’s sticky? I still don’t know, but Toronto’s Fucked Up kick all of the excitement knobs as far as they’ll go. The songs aren’t full-out speed blasts and the mid-tempos suit them well. The guitar work pings off itself and the drumming sounds happy among the chaos, so it’s not only trammeling and feisty, but the songs are injected with a new sense of urgency. (Very much like Sweden’s defunct Get Up and Go’ers.) By doing all that, not only can I tolerate the freakout sax and clarinet outerlude on “The Public,” it actually sounds good and well placed. If I were in a masochistic mood, I’d beat my finger with a hammer so I could give this a bigger thumbs up.