Sorry, hardcore kids. I hate burst your bubble, but it seems pretty clear that Ian MacKaye has learned the valuable lesson that, sometimes, less is more. I don’t think he’s coming back. Rather than return to beating people over the head with his manifestos like in his Fugazi days, MacKaye seems content to continue spreading his message, in a slightly more palatable form, with Amy Farina as the Evens.
And what a message it is. Some have contended that MacKaye’s gone soft with this new project, but that certainly doesn’t apply to his politics. He might be in the grips of middle age, but the years aren’t making him any less angry. Get Evens, the band’s second album, sees MacKaye and Farina taking aim at the usual suspects: Bush, money and, well, more Bush. The pair doesn’t pull any punches, either. Consider “Everybody Knows” and lines like “You and yours, and all your wars, have run your last campaign/ You’re fired, from a job you never should have had.” In a time when Green Day is the bastion for political dissent in pop music, we should all take a moment to say thanks that these two are still throwing stones.
That they sound good while doing so is an added bonus. While the Evens’ debut was a little rough around the edges at times, those imperfections have been buffed away for Get Evens. Farina is solid as ever behind the kit and, as a welcome surprise, gets a more even (pun intended) share of the spotlight vocally. MacKaye’s no slouch, either: He manages to pull enough pop hooks out of his baritone guitar to keep the album sounding fresh throughout — a worthy accomplishment given the limitations the pair are working with.
If this is the road that hardcore’s elder statesman chooses at this stage in his career, more power to him. There’s nothing wrong with raging against the man in a more dignified fashion.
Label: http://www.dischord.com/Audio: http://www.myspace.com/evensthe