The Messthetics

The Messthetics


Released: 25th May 2018

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The Messthetics is Joe Lally and Brendan Canty’s first venture together since Fugazi went on hiatus in 2003, after which Lally decamped to Italy for the better part of a decade, while Canty became an in-demand soundtrack composer, side player for Bob Mould, and frontman for the short-lived art-pop outfit Deathfix. But if their rhythmic repartee in the Messthetics is the same as it ever was, it serves as the foundation for a dramatically different construct than Fugazi. While Fugazi fearlessly embraced un-punk influences—dub, piano balladry, musique concrete—shredding was not one of them; they were so self-conscious about indulging in a little guitar noodling that they gave their song with lots of arpeggios the tongue-in-cheek title of “Arpeggiator.”

With the Messthetics, Lally and Canty defer to Anthony Pirog, a dexterous guitarist and a mainstay in the Washington D.C. avant-jazz scene, who’s given free rein to unleash his six-string splatter atop Lally and Canty’s propulsion. But lest that combination suggest a post-hardcore version of Surfing With the Alien, the album is more an instrumental power-trio record that values economy and emotional resonance over technical wizardry and structural complexity.