For those of you who didn’t know, the Fugazi story has been going for around ten years now. In that time, indie rock has seen more one hit wonders than you can shake a big red pocket comb at. Bands with integrity and staying power are few and far between, to put it lightly. For those of you who thought that Fugazi ended with “Waiting Room,” bend an ear. Fugazi have spent the years doing all of those things we hate to hear about. Adding subtlety, maturity, and texture. You know, all of those things normally synonymous with “boring us” or “selling out.” Fortunately, the venom of earlier songs has stayed and has perhaps become more potent. When the music is beating you on the head, it isn’t hard to sound menacing, but it takes a little more skill to convincingly tear down America to the sound of a pin drop.
Not to say that this CD remains on the soporific side. The CD begins with the multilayered “Break,” where guitars and pianos keep adding layers until a short verse comes in. Next up is “Place Position,” which is a well-phrased criticism of nationalism and the “fence builder’s dream.” The mellow “Recap Modotti” follows, and then my personal favorite, “No Surprise.” After that is the scathing “Five Corporations,” which throws a Molotov cocktail at the corporate takeover of America. The “commitment to excellence” stays through song after song on this disc. Later on the CD, “Foreman’s Dog” stands out, with its indictment of the ’90s piercing phenomenon, “I wonder if I pierce it/will my body stop lying to me?” The song after that one is the ever-present Fugazi instrumental, this one being “Arpeggiator” by name; it almost has a bit of fun and definitely lives up to its name. Even after all of this time, Fugazi has somehow managed to stay timely with their music and topics. It seems that they have a knack for changing with the times that keeps them coming back after a hundred other bands have faded into obscurity.
This CD may very well be Fugazi’s final transmission according to all rumors I have heard. After hearing this and previous releases, I think it would be truly a shame to lose this amazing band. Dischord Records, 3819 Beecher St. NW, Washington, DC 20007