Created as a livestream event on December 11, 2020 and conceived with artistic partner Jesse Draxler as a marriage of different mediums, Greg Puciato’s Fuck Content is no mere live album; with video accompaniment that includes live performance, studio footage, and visual art, the album presents the artist’s philosophy of substance over content. Comprised of 10 selections from his Child Soldier: Creator of God debut and several new songs, this audio component of Fuck Content stands well enough on its own to present Puciato’s musical prowess.
On the stage, Puciato’s physicality matches the power of the music, be it in the explosive ferocity of The Dillinger Escape Plan or Killer Be Killed, or the reserved introspection of The Black Queen; this is also true in the case of this record, for as the songs on Child Soldier would vacillate between the two extremes and all points in between, so too must their live counterparts on Fuck Content. Free from the technical wizardry of the studio, Puciato’s vocal powers seem almost superhuman as he seemingly without effort shifts from melody – sometimes breathy and saccharine, sometimes snarling and imposing – to a vicious throaty scream whose brute force is mirrored by Chris Hornbrook’s drumming and Jeff Geisser’s steely bass, particularly on tracks like “Creator of God,” “September City,” and “Evacuation.” With fellow guitarist Nick Rowe aiding on backup vocals, Puciato’s lush harmonization remains, the slight fluctuations of breath and tone, along with the controlled yet natural reverb of the live environment helping to give songs like “Do You Need Me to Remind You?,” “Roach Hiss,” and “Deep Set” a so much greater impact than the original studio versions. The same can be said of “Down When I’m Not” as the subtle phasing of the distortion takes the song further into the realm of ‘90s alternative rock and dreampop a la Medicine or Catherine Wheel, while the spectral and ambient beauty of “Fireflies” is all the more poignant in this incarnation.
Of the new tracks, “You Staring At Me, Staring At You” begins the proceedings, the hollow and airy atmosphere of an atonal pulsing inviting the listener into Fuck Content like a prologue, the synths trickling like droplets upon a reflective marble expanse. Fans of the artist’s more metal leanings will certainly appreciate the slow and sludgy yet melodic dirge of “Absence as a Presence,” the unbridled energy of “Don’t Wanna Deal,” complete with a squealing and unhinged guitar solo, and the concluding portion of “Crazy All Around,” whose true power lies in the mercurial R&B of the first half; if this man does not end up performing a duet with Sade, it would be downright criminal. Ending the album is the cloudy shoegaze of “Lying at the Bottom of the Sky,” the shimmering guitar tone and vocal bringing the record to a lovely and luscious conclusion.
Fuck Content functions on various levels, but perhaps the most effectively as a commentary on the quality of modern media and how artists utilize it, especially in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many artists and bands conducting livestream concerts, Puciato and Draxler assembled something that stands not just as a live show, not just a documented concert performance, but a statement of just how far the form has come and has yet to be taken – not just a visual accompaniment, but an artistic piece unto itself, intrinsic to the experience as a whole. But if that sounds too esoteric, overly intellectual, or just plain pretentious, one can still appreciate this as a companion to Child Soldier.