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Red Medicine

4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Red Medicine
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Audio CD, June 12, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Retreating from the skinned-knee production values of In on the Kill Taker, Red Medicine packs more rhythmic punch and shows more range. With more drive and playful goings-on, the arrangements sound much looser than on Kill Taker, while remaining just as gut-kicking and brainy. The experimentation, which adds liveliness, doesn't sound measured. Even Joe Lally is allowed to sing, and it just happens to be one of the best songs on the record. Running against the theory that Fugazi is a pack of killjoys, numerous instances pop up where the band's twisted sense of humor is apparent. The sinister ha-has that open "Birthday Pony," the android sample in the pleasant (!) instrumental "Combination Lock," and random piano plinks all manage to find a welcome place. But the most uncharacteristic track is the "Blade Runner in Kingston" slo-mo instrumental "Version," featuring clarinet skronks, dubwise rhythm, incidental zaps, and -- get this -- no guitars. Picciotto declares in the immediately following "Target" that he hates the sound of guitars. What gives? It's clearly a rumination against corporate America's capitalization/bastardization of "punk" aesthetics. If anyone had the right to comment, it was Fugazi. "Back to Base" and "Downed City" (another dubby intro here) return to more standard issue, hardcore roots Fugazi, full of the soaring guitars that the band is most known for. Closing out the nearly flawless second side is yet another contemplative exit track, "Long Distance Runner." Acting as a daily affirmation of sorts to combat lethargy, MacKaye opines, "If I stop to catch my breath/I might catch a piece of death." ~ Andy Kellman, All Music Guide
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 12, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dischord
  • ASIN: B000000JPP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,548 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 9, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Fugazi were (are) by far the best band of the 90s. Don't just buy this album- BUY EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEIRS. I can guarantee that their albums will forever become among your favorites. I got hooked in 93, and I still love them.
But do yourself a favour- don't buy them on amazon or in a store. Buy them from the label, [...] as their cds are postpaid and much cheaper.
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Format: Audio CD
Red Medicine occupies a special place in Fugazi's discography--the righteous indignation that fuelled rampaging early classics like Repeater was giving way to a more complex, technically advanced approach, but the polished machine that showed up on the band's swan song The Argument wasn't yet in full effect. Fortunately, this crossroads managed to merge the best of both worlds, resulting in what I consider to Fugazi's most consistently compelling effort. The band still had two talented frontmen in the howling Ian MacKaye and the sneering Guy Picciotto, the musicianship continued its progression in terms of virtuosity and intricacy, and most importantly the songs here are never less than unpredictable and involving. Many bands that hang their hats on anger and aggression suffer from their inability to write a song to save their lives, but Fugazi (along with the similarly dearly departed Refused) knew how to how make you wait for the big payoff, how to ramp up the intensity at just the right moment, how to manipulate noise rather than just bowl listeners over with it. Interestingly enough for a rock album, the guitar often isn't even the lead instrument--check out how many songs are driven by the intricate, mathy, at times even funky rhythms laid down by Brendan Canty and Joe Lally. Odd rhythms, time signatures, and song structures prevail throughout (not much verse/chorus here, and not much 4/4 timing either), and the band hadn't yet incorporated all the melodic elements that popped up on The Argument, making for a challenging and occasionally frustrating listen that offers up more looks than an NFL defense.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I once listened to my Fugazi collection all the way through, albums back to back. Of all of them, Red Medicine has always been a standout in my opinion. Infact, it constantly moves back and forth with the Argument as my favorite Fugazi album. But its kind of weird because Red Medicine lacks alot of the previous elements that made Fugazi up until this point(and is a huge left turn as far as musical sound incomparison to their previous visceral effort, In on The Kill Taker). It really doesn't have any of the hard, distorted edge that its previous albums have. It doesn't have the same anger volume that previous albums had; sometimes it actually even has a sense of humor. However, when you really get down it, its still a Fugazi album through and through, and probably their freshest and most interesting to date.
One thing that is still in place are the always amazing rhythm section of Joe Lally and Brendan Canty. Both always push the songs perfectly, add a simple but explosive dynamic and even add a little grove to the songs(combination lock). The trademark Ian mishmash vocals are in place and pretty much takes the role of motivator and politcal agenda as usual while Guy still does his trademark squeal with the same emotive feeling and lyrics. What really changes this time around is the way the band approaches songs. Rather then the tight but explosive songs of their early days, the songs on Red Medicine seem as though they were born out of jams and accidents. The feeling of structure that was on earlier work is replaced with a far more relaxed and sometimes humorus enviroment.
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By Colin on December 15, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I have not heard all of Fugazi's albums but from the ones I've heard (Repeater, 13 Songs) this is my favorite. The songs on here are consistantly great and don't get boring. Target is easily my favorite Fugazi song and is a btrilliant song that should be heard by all. The others are all great too especially Long Distance Runner, Do You Like Me, and Version. This is an album you need to check out if you are a fan of rock and sick of the crap that's on the radio.
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Format: Audio CD
I do not think this record is as experimental and as much of a shift as some have considered it (not here persay but in general). I think since the previous record (In on the Kill Takers) was the most thrashing of all the Fugazi records this one appears like they totally changed when in reality I do not think it is so. Red Medicine is certainly different, but so are all their records, yet none sound drastically different, in that they still retain distinctive Fugazi elements. Certain elements are explored further and touched upon more on each record. This is part of what makes Fugazi so good. They have stayed true to their sound and what they're doing while never becoming stagnant and boring. The people that disagree with this do so because they only like the most aggresive and abrasive elements without appreciating others that were always there but not as prominent. This record seems to do more exploration than their previous records and have pushed the boundaries a little more and in that regard has more variance but yet has still acquired a particular feel to it that is distinctive and that I enjoy immensely. I would say that of all the Fugazi records, this and Repeater are the most important ones, but they are all fantastic which is an amazing feat.
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