This is punk rock slowed down to a lope, transformed into angry meditations on, well, a number of things--sometimes alienation, sometimes the fashion industry, and sometimes things too vague really to specify. Fugazi are ... more »always interesting, if only because of their absolute willingness to overturn every established punk rock convention (and what could be more punk rock?). On this record, inventiveness generally outpaces quality, and protest songs without catchy melodies--for all their good intentions--are pretty quickly forgotten. Regardless, their trademark staccato guitar attack and fractured rhythms are here in force, and at least two songs, "Reclamation" and "Nice New Outfit," rank with their best. --Percy Keegan« less
This is punk rock slowed down to a lope, transformed into angry meditations on, well, a number of things--sometimes alienation, sometimes the fashion industry, and sometimes things too vague really to specify. Fugazi are always interesting, if only because of their absolute willingness to overturn every established punk rock convention (and what could be more punk rock?). On this record, inventiveness generally outpaces quality, and protest songs without catchy melodies--for all their good intentions--are pretty quickly forgotten. Regardless, their trademark staccato guitar attack and fractured rhythms are here in force, and at least two songs, "Reclamation" and "Nice New Outfit," rank with their best. --Percy Keegan
"This album strikes you immediately because, as others have pointed out, the production is different from their previous (and subsequent) releases. Basically, this is a Fugazi that has matured. The distortion is less a visceral, more refined texture, and the mix is more even (compared to the guitar dominated Killtaker and Repeater). Even the songwriting is restrained, focused and direct. The centerpiece of the album (and one of the best tracks) is the eponymous instrumental, track 6. When you're a band with two of the best rock vocalists of all-time, and the best track on your latest album is *instrumental,* you know you're a great band...The first thing I thought when I heard this was, "Wow, Fugazi's grown up since Repeater," which is a good thing, even though Repeater is amazing (of course) and being loud and raw is a good thing, too. But fear not, there's always Killtaker to make sure the raw thing is taken care of...This album represents Fugazi finding themselves in the recording studio (another good thing), because from here on, they wouldn't just be hitting "record" and then start playing. They were working *in* the studio. People have criticized this album for being less intense or emotional than the others, or the sound being "weaker," but none of these is true. When your only way to convey depth or meaning is through volume, then you are limited, and thankfully Fugazi is certainly not limited in this way. To think that they progressed to this only a year or two after their breakthrough album Repeater is quite impressive."
Mr. Mark | Canada | 01/18/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe not their best, but solid. Either you like Fugazi's sound or you don't in my opinion. I would not trust someone who suggested Ted Nugent over Fugazi, or even made a compairison for that matter. Period (see next review). A CD would have to be pretty bad to honestly receive only 1 star. THis is 4 star material all the way. Try repeater if you don't have anything else."
Protest music? All that and more...
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If Ian MacKaye hadn't been in Minor Threat as a teenager, no one would ever compare Fugazi to punk or protest rock. Not that there's anything wrong with those things -- I just see deeper art in _Steady Diet_ than MacKaye's old anti-drug routine. Minor Threat was fast, in-your-face, and frankly a little obvious. Fugazi is mid-tempo, jazzy, and complex. Their songs take several listens to appreciate, but the result is much more haunting.Perhaps that's why this album's single, "Reclamation," failed to impress me; the trite political message ("We want control of our bodies") is beneath MacKaye's considerable lyrical power. On the other hand, "Stacks" and "Dear Justice Letter" have subtle rhythms and messages that take half a song to kick in, but kick in they do. As for catchy, give "Exit Only," "Runaway Return," and "KYEO" a chance, and they'll stay with you much longer than the latest teeny-bopper MTV! hit. Finally, the instrumental title track is the album's centerpiece, showing off the band's innovative rhythm section and offbeat guitar noise.Fugazi is famous for their anti-corporate policies, but this album blows away all of the silly pop-punk that most people associate with indie purism. All of the parts fit together, and Ian MacKaye seems to have the Lou Reed License (the license that a musical genius gets to excuse his lack of singing ability). No other band could have so much talent and integrity without seeming pretentious -- and this album has aged well, unlike most rock from 1991 (play some old Nirvana songs to see what I mean). So if you want to hear which "alternative" band *should* have defined the early nineties, look no further -- just don't sell it short by calling it protest music."
Forget punk rock. Fugazi are their own genre.
tbrady | 05/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favorite Fugazi record. While Ian Mackaye's songs bring the record down, Guy Picciotto delivers his best songs ever here. "Nice New Outfit," "Exit Only," and "Latin Roots" are all fist-shakers, and if you can listen to "Runaway Return" without proclaiming it an anthem, then you would do well to invest in Q-Tips."
Hasn't lost a thing in 11 years!
tbrady | Philadelphia, USA | 02/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the first Fugazi record I bought as it came out and I remember being excited and blown away. Fugazi have always made records that rock, have hooks and are still complex enough to reveal new things with each listen, and this record is no exception. This record was about as advanced as I got in 8th grade but I still listen to it. My favorite songs are "Exit Only" "Steady Diet" "Long Division" "Runaway Return" "Polish" and "KYEO." Ranks as one of the best Dischord releases ever."