Joe Lally – Why Should I Get Used To It

January 01, 1970

(Tolotta-Dischord)

 

www.dischord.com

 

There is no better stylist on the bass guitar in American
punk music than Joe Lally of Fugazi. His sharp, nimble and direct rhythm lines
were the absolute core of the DC legends’ distinctive sound, and often the
first thing you’d hear that would instantly identify it as a Fugazi song, as
iconic anthems like “Waiting Room” and “Long Division” so
deftly signify. Though he might have been the most low-key cat in the group, they
would not have been the same without his detrimental input to the sonic
equation.  

 

Eight years into an indefinite hiatus from longtime partners
Ian MacKaye, Guy Picciotto and Brendan Canty, Lally continues to establish
himself as a formidable artist in his own right on his dynamic third solo LP. Why Should I Get Used To It breaks the
five year lull in the bassist’s own private creative cycle that previously saw
him release his first two albums, 2006’s There
To Here
and 2007’s Nothing Is
Underrated
, practically back to
back. And whereas his previous efforts under his own accord saw him refer to
his all-star rolodex for collaborative purposes, including members of The Melvins,
The Obsessed, Capillary Action, Italian noise rockers Zu and – of course – Fugazi,
this new one sees Lally opting to work strictly with his current touring group,
a power trio rounded out by guitarist Elisa Abela and drummer Emanuele Tomasi.
The 11 songs featured here were also recorded in Rome, where the Silver Spring,
Maryland native defected to several years ago (presumably out of sheer disgust
for the downward direction his native land has been taking this past decade), far
removed from the comfort and familiarity of his digs on the American East
Coast.

 

But the funny thing about Why Should I… is that in spite of being crafted in a foreign land
with musicians who aren’t known names in Lally’s stateside circles, it comes
closer to the sound of Fugazi than anything that has emerged from the group’s
camp during this extended time-out. Where his last two releases offered a
sparser, more atmospheric departure from the post-hardcore urgency of his old
band, this new one appears to bask in the cohesion and dexterity the three
musicians established for themselves while on tour together. The jazz-punk
interplay of tracks like “Ken-Gar” and “Let It Burn” allow
Lally to indulge his (assumed) Pastorius and Mingus influences, while “Fort Campbell, KY”
echoes the sentiments of Young Marble Giants and might make some wonder why he never
sang more lead back in the day. However, once Lally gets a groove on, as he
does so effectively on the rock-steady opening cut “What Makes You,” the AOR-fueled
“Nothing to Lose” and the defiantly anti-establishment title track, it
seems as though he’s picking up right where Fugazi left off on their 2001 swan
song The Argument (which, along with
1995’s Red Medicine and 1998’s End Hits, saw that group veer away from
hardcore roots into bolder, more musically daring territory). It’s an ethos that
Lally has apparently adopted for himself on this LP, only with different people
on board in lieu of MacKaye, Picciotto and Canty.

 

Why Should I Get Used
To It
is the best thing Dischord has issued since the last Lungfish record;
it’s being released in conjunction with the bass player’s own recently revived
boutique imprint, Tolotta Records. And while there’s a strong chance Fugazi may
never get back in the studio or on the road before Armagideon time, if Joe
Lally continues to veer into the direction he is going on this exceptional LP, it
will certainly serve as a fine respite from their sorely felt absence on the
scene.

 

DOWNLOAD: “What Makes You”, “Nothing to Lose”, “Fort Campbell, KY”,
“Ken-Gar”, “Why Should I Get Used To It” RON HART

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