CD Red Medicine (CD 884474),
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1. Do You Like Me
2. Bed for the Scraping
3. Latest Disgrace
4. Birthday Pony
5. Forensic Scene
6. Combination Lock
7. Fell, Destroyed
8. By You
11. Back to Base
12. Downed City
13. Long Distance Runner
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 90
Fugazi: Ian Mackaye, Guy Picciotto (vocals, guitar); Joe Lally (bass); Brendan Canty (drums).
Principally recorded at Inner Ear Studios, Arlington, Virginia in January 1995.
Personnel: Guy Picciotto, Ian MacKaye (vocals, guitar); Brendan Canty (drums).
Audio Mixer: Fugazi.
Recording information: Guilford House (04/1994-01/1995); Inner Ear, England (04/1994-01/1995); Practice (04/1994-01/1995).
Photographers: Jem Cohen; Fugazi; Joey P.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Guy Picciotto; Ian MacKaye; Joe Lally; Brendan Canty.
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.
Rolling Stone (7/13-7/27/95, p.109) - 3.5 Stars out of 5 - "...Fugazi have branched out musically and chilled out lyrically; they've added jazzy piano, dub-style bass and percussion, psychedelic guitar and even a snaky Middle Eastern-style melody to their palette....RED MEDICINE is rock solid, held together with seductive hooks, hummable melodies and on over-arching continuity..."
Spin (9/95, p.111) - 7 - Flawed Yet Worthy - "...it's hardly a post-hardcore band anymore. Fugazi is turning into groups it likes. RED MEDICINE is full of minimalist Unrest pop strumming, fragmented Shudder To Think art rock, and Jawbox explosions from melody to noise. The album sounds like a D.C. compilation..."
Alternative Press (8/95, p.87) - "...draws lines that are clear and thick, distinctly separating itself from the latest slew of derivative indie-rock records....a complex hybrid of melody, noise, and the sound of guitar strings stroked above the fretboard, Fugazi's trademark leaves you unable to draw comparisons..."
Option (7-8/95, p.89) - "...The band's material has never been better. While even Fugazi's best album, the hard-charging REPEATER, came off as headlong blur, the strongest songs on RED MEDICINE jump out from their intricately varied backdrop..."
Melody Maker (5/6/95, p.38) - Recommended - "...a massive leap--reinventing themselves without losing one notch of the energy and intensity that makes them so damned crucial...they have leapt away from the stifling hardcore straitjacket that could have choked them....Hell, there's even a trumpet in there...surprises everywhere..."
Mojo (Publisher) (7/95, p.114) - "...wild and untamed in the cussed Yank enclosure, Fugazi stamp their hooves and toss their tails as tautly as ever on RED MEDICINE....axes grinding, Mackaye and Picciotto in full cry, the Caucasian answer to Chuck D and Flavor Flav - this band has no peers."
NME (Magazine) (12/23-30/95, pp.22-23) - Ranked #49 in NME's `Top 50 Albums Of The Year' for 1995 - "...mix barbed eloquence with passion, pain, frustration and a uniquely warped Fugazi-take on various musical genres."
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