stellar_legs, on march 10, 2004 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: First, let's clear some things: Countless bands try to address politics through music. But, political punk bands fall in between inteligent, obvious, and just cashing in on politics in music. You know they want to be Rage, but they need to leave that orphus alone. Over the last decade Fugazi have crafted some of the most inteligent and involving tunes to come out of any post-core punk scene. Unlike bands like NOFX or Pennywise, Fugazi address politics through smarts; they make you dig for every message in there songs, and basically, outshine the "the president's the biggest idiot I've ever seen/the countries gone mad, no what I mean?" type lyrics of the above mentioned bands. Simply put, do not even let an option come up in your mind about which personal political punk rock to buy. There should be no contest.
Part of Fugazi's appeal lies in the roller coaster ride that is there music. With The Argument, Fugazi leaves just about everything most people associate about punk rock at the door, and move into a progressive territory rarely seen in punk acts. Rarely loud, never whiny, and much more polished, The Argument is a rock album that sacrifices gain for clarity, and it's all the better.
But what sets Fugazi off from the others is how incredibly funky they are. The bass and guitars compliment and swirl into a mixture that almost resembles the yin-yang chemistry of the Red Hot Chili Peppers John and Flea. Bass lines are funky and smart; never brute. Guitars play shimmering appregios and singing melodies that at times sound like another vocal, then quickly shift to garage-like raw, ragged power chords.
The album starts with "Cashout", a punk rock lesson in crusty P-funk, with a dark overtune that keeps it from being a joke. Then things get loud and raw with "Full Disclosure," with an ensemble of distorted guitars tripping over each other like a drunk punk band playing at a lowly bar. "Epic Problem" stays closest to punk roots, with palm muted power chords and alienating single notes that grow dead quiet, then louder than the start. "Life and Limb" has enough old school soul to be a Clash rip-off (which it sounds like, but there's something new to the song. Is it Blues? Is it R&B? Is it Punk? Who knows. But The Argument will always shock until the end, having you question it's punk credibilities. // 10
Lyrics: Smart. That's the only word to describe the lyrics. The Argument, like most Fugazi albums, is a rant against Big Brother. But is it whiny and pretentious like most bubblegum punk bands? Fugazi never try to tell us anything; about how we should open up our eyes to Bush, and they never resort to Hallmark, "Where were you?" sentimentality. "Epic Problem" is ingeniously set up like a telegram: "Tell me something that I don't know. stop./Is there anything left to know? stop.stop.stop.stop."
"Cashout" is one of the smartest songs to come out in the last year, as it addresses an apartment eviction, run by a greedy landlord: "On the morning of the first eviction/carried out the wishes of the landlord and his son/furniture's out, on the sidewalk, next to the family/that little piggy went to market, so there kickin' out everyone."
Smart, vibrant, and darkly mysterious, The Argument will either open your eyes or just generate a "cool." // 8
Overall Impression: Out of all of the albums Fugazi have released over the year's, The Argument is a different beast, and one of there strongest efforts in year's. But it's also there swan song; The Argument was the last album they released before going on indefinite hiatus. And you can tel that they had a "who gives a damn?" last album attitude. The Argument shows that punk's original message thrives, but is also open to many new sounds. // 10