Fugazi "Red Medicine" - Deathwish Inc

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Fugazi "Red Medicine"

Fugazi are as notable for their "political music for the common man" approach as for the stop-start riffing that made their guitars-and-gestalt-therapy sound into an industry buzz. Their 1995 album, RED MEDICINE, reasserts the band's grasp on alterna-angst and charging guitars--enough so to make your jaws lock.

Yet, RED MEDICINE isn't just another exercise in Fugazi-style political manifestos; on it, Fugazi come across more as musicians than politicians. The yelping "I have something to prove" tone of previous releases has relaxed into a more confident approach. The dueling guitars are looser, more melodic. The riffs and vocals don't bark and grate as much--they simmer and, in some cases, even swing. Songs like "Birthday Party" may still rely on the old-school Fugazi approach--the proven shout and power-chord stomp--but "Forensic Scene" sounds almost Beatlesque in its lovely hesitance.

Regardless of that evolution, RED MEDICINE still includes all the things that made REPEATER-era Fugazi so inspiring, their standard ringing guitars and shouted vocals glaring through the mix. But RED MEDICINE also shows a new-found eloquence, a quieter approach for their songwriting craft, and previously unseen musicianship.