Fugazi - The Argument (Cover Artwork)


The Argument (2001)


The other day when I got home from work I opened my mailbox and was totally shocked to see a package containing the new Fugazi records. I had only heard vague reports that an album and single had been recorded; I had no idea that it was ready to come out, and what's more I hadn't spoken to my contact at Dischord for months, another reason for this package being completely unanticipated. As I stared at the two CDs sitting on my coffee table, I realized that my web site has already achieved pretty much everything I set out to do. Just a few days earlier I received BYO's reissue of Leatherface's The Last, and here is the new Fugazi sitting on my table, without me paying for it or even specifically asking for it. The world truly is a beautiful place.

When I put on the disc, though, the feeling only grew more intense. Fugazi has long been one of my all-time favourite bands, but on End Hits I thought that they got a bit too jammy and forgot that they can write really great songs. Sure, I could listen to Ian and Guy play crazy guitar leads all day, but that will never equal the feeling of identification and elation when listening to songs like "Shut the Door" or "Suggestion." On The Argument, however, Fugazi give us the best of both early and later periods of the band, simultaneously expanding their sonic palette and getting back to basics as far as simple, elegant song structures go.

The guitar playing in particular on this record is nothing short of phenomenal. Ian and Guy both wield their instruments with a precise, delicate balance of power and pop sensibility with which there is no real worthy comparison. Similarly, the percussion has been expanded and developed far beyond what is expected from your standard rock band, the recorded debut of longtime tour percussionist Jerry Busher giving the band even more dimension and diversity, two things they never really lacked in the first place.

After all these years and all these records, Fugazi are still one of the most vibrant, exciting bands in all of rock music. Despite their seniority, their modesty remains intact; one of the most understated, tasteful press releases I've ever received accompanied the record, which is truly unique and admirable when every label touts every release as the next big thing. For Fugazi, this is just another record, but for those of us who are lucky enough to hear it, it's a reaffirmation that music, and punk rock in particular, are still worth listening to.

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