Fugazi’s new album, The Argument, is a surprise treasure. After more than a decade, the band is still making challenging, interesting, rocking material. Keeping a low profile and having a progressive musical philosophy has allowed the group to do things on its own terms.
And here is a relevant, complex rocker that sends a tingle down the spine. Although it isn’t much of a departure from Fugazi’s past work, it is, for the most part, less abrasive. Instead of shoving a message inside your ears with an electric cattle prod, the band drips narcotic nectar into them. The lyrical content is as ambiguous and maybe even more subversive than ever, considering the current endangered climate for free speech, where people have been fired for questioning government policy.
“OH” is an anti-corporate, anti-global anthem where Guy Picciotto wails: “I’m pissing on your modems/I’m shredding all the stock/Waiting for the bottom to drop.” While this sentiment is nothing new for Fugazi, Picciotto’s anticipation for “When the letter returns to the sender, I can hardly wait,” is a touchy thing to say right now. But this is protest music. It’s about questioning what’s going on.
After the decent (but not excellent) release, End Hits and an almost completely instrumental Instrument sound track follow-up, Fugazi has taken the best elements of each and melded them. It has the cool, wavy guitar, bass and drum elements of Instrument, with End Hits’ confrontational song topics. The Argument parallels the band’s evolution: It starts off good and improves with each track. Fugazi, and Ian Mackaye’s previous band, Minor Threat, both epitomize the do-it-yourself approach to music and have left their teeth marks on the indie genre. The Argument is no exception. It’s Fugazi’s best overall piece since In on the Kill Taker.
Mike Savage is a Metro Times intern. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.