Fugazi, Red Medicine

Joe Gross

By Joe Gross

on 07.27.11 in Reviews
The first broad expansion of their musical palette

Now confident behind the boards, Red Medicine is the first broad expansion of their musical palette. The hard strumming on “Do You Like Me?” almost sounds like furious, heavy…indie pop. (After all, Fugazi had a long fruitful relationship with the Olympia, Washington, scene that’s home to K and Kill Rock Stars.) Guy explores creepy, subtly slinky rhythms on his cuts, while piano, MacKaye’s first instrument, shows up on the intro to the anthemic “Birthday Pony.” (MacKaye sure does get to the heart of starting a band: “I needed something to do/ So I split into two.”) The instrumental is their funkiest, while a quote from Tenor Saw (“ring the alaaaam…”) becomes a chorus. They also get a little cranky about alt-rock. On his first vocal performance, Lally decries “Generation fuck you” on the epic noise fest “By You,” while Guy realizes elsewhere, “I hate the sound of guitars/ a thousand grudging young millionaires.” Does it seem like small beer to be throwing at, say, Green Day’s head or did they have a legitimate beef with the major labels co-opting the underground? It’s both of course.