Joe Lally, Nothing Is Underrated

Joe Gross

By Joe Gross

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

First things first: Yes, Nothing Is Underrated reunites the erstwhile Fugazi bassist with former bandmates Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto. No, all of them do not show up on the same tracks at once. No, Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty is not here. Yes, Lally's voice has improved since his days as Fugazi's George Harrison figure, a sometime singer and a player crucial to their sound, despite the fact that many fans thought of him as less important than the other two guys who played stringed instruments. MacKaye produced this (immaculate sounding) album at Dischord House; the m.o. seems to be that Lally's collaborators improvise music over Lally's pre-written bass lines — collaborators that include members of Haram, Capillary Action and Medications.

Spare, mellow and focused: mature rock from a Fugazi vet.

Interestingly, in contrast to MacKaye's worthy project the Evens, the results don't sound much like Fugazi at all. Instead, Lally has hit upon his own mature-rock language — spare, mellow and focused. Picciotto teams up with his ex-Rites of Spring/Happy Go Licky bandmate Eddie Janney on a few tracks, their guitars melting into feedback. MacKaye, too, is a ghostly presence, his signature SG buzzing here and there. Even though Lally no longer lives in D.C., the title track is typical post-harDCore humanism — our struggle is universal, we're all in this together, it's better to create than destroy, etc. You know the drill, but here's a pleasant, refined take, a small circle of friends adding ingredients to a pal's newest soup.