Monday, March 01, 2004

#57) Fugazi - 13 Songs (released in 1989, I bought this on CD sometime in college)

Like REM, I dig these guys mainly for how I react to their basic sound rather than any coherent profundity in the lyrics. Drummer Brendan Canty's distinctive clomp (his rolls give me the same rush I get from helplessly watching someone knock over a drink and I dig that liberty bell KONK he flings into random songs), Joe Lally's melodic basslines and Ian MacKaye's scabrous, thick, guitar-playing create a peculiar frozen funk that I shouldn't enjoy as much as I do (like REM, I don't really care for many of the bands blatantly following in Fugazi's footsteps). It grooves despite its rigidity, making anger boogie without making it boogie so much that the anger isn't palpable. Once singer Guy Picciotto picked up a second guitar in 1990 the band started toying more with dynamics (to fine effect), but their initial two EP's (collected on the 13 Songs CD) remain their most dynamic document.

The flow here is murky enough that critics who want to fight it can, but I really just can't be bothered. Even when mushmouth gets in the way of the actual statements, Picciotto and MacKaye's voices signify righteous indignation, confidently blustering over the sludgy bop, especially on their first-ever classic "Waiting Room," which is allegedly played during Redskins football games these days, and "Suggestion," a surprisingly sensual number seeing as how its about rape and female objectification. Once you realize that everybody but Canty is wearing goofy hats in the liner notes and that there are TWO pictures of Picciotto doing a headstand inside, I don't know how you can find these guys humorless.

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