A YEAR IN MUSIC: 1990
Review by: Lex Alfonso
Truly, few groups in the history of the punk canon have expanded the vocabulary of the genre so swiftly and so decisively. Fugazi’s compact, but powerful, opus opened the floodgates and redefined what a punk album could be. Its 35 minutes are packed with the detail of a record thrice its size. Repeat listens yield subtle layers hiding behind the riffs. Stabs of jangly guitar leads pierce the walls of distortion and the politically charged lyrics belie a guiding theme of identity and automation.
MacKaye’s commitment to his craft is tragically unprecedented in its near-total absence of pretence. It’s daringly free of compromise, hybridisation or dilution. 1990 might have been the year the world discovered punk could be intelligent and legitimately important, but we were just catching up to Ian MacKaye’s genius.