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When I saw that Fugazi was finally releasing a true follow-up to 1998ís End Hits, I was excited to hear what the band had come up with to progress from that wonderfully written jewel. Well, Iím sure itís safe to say I wasnít the only one let down.
First, the album kicks off with an unnamed track, that is because the track is just a gathering of various annoying noises to get you turned off early. Luckily, one of the stronger tracks of the album comes next. "Cashout" is a descriptive tale of big business foreclosing on peopleís homes. With all the popping up of new sports arenas and other big business investments, smaller neighborhoods are being destroyed in the name of "progress." Add this to the list along with the Blue Meaniesí "The Devil Came to the Ninth Ward" and you have a strong soundtrack for the anti-gentrification movement.
From here, the album steadily begins itís decent to "unimpressive" status. "Full Disclosure" begins with Guy screaming some intellegible words (the lyrics sheet tells us itís "I want out") then gets into the actual song. As with past Fugazi album, the music is strong and the progression always on the up, however on this album, the vocals are very disappointing. Even on the track Joe Lally sings on, the vocals come off weak and boring. Keep in mind, some of this bandís jewels are Joe Lally sung tracks.
One of the later tracks on the album that stands out is "Oh." This song has a freestyle feel to it, as well as some interesting lyrics from Guy. Itís a serious song dealing with the computerize global economy and ISPs. Someone definitely asking for some criticism.
In the end, this album offers the same intellegent lyrics of past releases, dealing with themes such as gentrification, death penalty and the moral decline of the US. Definitely hardhitting, useful words, but in the end lost in the intellegible vocals. Itís a shame the message isnít clearly heard, just be sure to read the lyric sheet.
Traci Stevens is a contributing writer. Contact her at email@example.com.