Expect the unexpected. That’s how I approached this record. And it didn’t take long before it happened. Only moments after the guitar string wrestling and frantic drumming that open this record, in comes the piano line. Piano? Yes, piano. Before long, there’s a signature Joe Lally bass groove, and a second guitar picks up where the piano left off. All instruments are playing almost completely different parts. Then, the musical curveball breaks and the song is suddenly into its one and only verse. Is this free jazz? No, it’s Fugazi. It rocks. It rules.
There is something about this grouping of four musicians that is just qualitatively different. You hear it immediately. Their music is unique, deliberate, and ambitious as hell. They will try anything in crafting a song. Throw out the punk rock rule book and bring on the wah pedal, drum sound effects, funky breakdowns, classic rock-esque riffs, studio-induced creativity, et al. Somehow, it all still manages to sound like Fugazi. It even begins to make sense after ten or twenty listens.
But despite End Hits’ skewed experimental leanings and lyrical abstruseness, one quality pervades and supersedes all — these songs are catchier than pink eye. They’ve invaded my very neurons and interrupt my thoughts all day long. I’d love to go into a song by song dissertation here but this is supposed to fit into one issue. Besides, only Henry Miller can ramble that long and stay interesting.
I’ve always thought of Fugazi as the best blend of the physical and cerebral elements of rock. They prove it record after record. End Hits is no exception. Bottom line, this shit is timeless. If you haven’t heard this record already, shame on you, go get it.
Critique and salve me baby. Dischord, 3819 Beecher Street NW, Washington D.C. 20007; http://www.southern.com/dischord