Fugazi - Steady Diet of Nothing LP

(Dischord, 1991)

“Just months before Nirvana would usher in the grunge phenomenon with Nevermind, many eyes were on post-hardcore band Fugazi and the group’s second full-length effort, Steady Diet of Nothing, which arrived in July 1991.

The notoriously press-averse and fiercely independent group had relentlessly toured behind 1990’s Repeater, commanding a more-than respectful following throughout North America and Europe, routinely selling out venues with 1,000-person capacities.

One could argue it was Fugazi’s relentless tour ethic that may have inadvertently helped shape Steady Diet of Nothing. Where their previous effort was content to reside within a specific happy dissonance that thrived on abstract guitar tones and a healthy dose of tension, Steady Diet of Nothing served notice to the world that the group had become more deliberate, but no less intense, with their songwriting approach.

The intensity heard throughout the record was reportedly no accident. Fugazi guitarist-vocalist Guy Picciotto said the group’s overall mindset was also feeling the tension stemming from the first Gulf War.

Intensity didn’t completely dominate Steady Diet of Nothing, however: The instrumental track “Steady Diet” gave listeners a glimpse back into their Repeater mindset while still forging confidently forward. “Long Division,” basked in an earnest simplicity, dominated by one of MacKaye’s more soulful, simple vocal deliveries on the record, and complemented by the bass work of Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty.

Closing the album with the anthemic “KYEO,” Fugazi contemplates the aforementioned Gulf War, imploring the public to “keep our eyes open,” while also vowing “we will not be beaten down.”

And with that track’s abrupt finish, one of Fugazi’s arguably most underrated and underappreciated albums comes to a close.” - Ken Kelley for Diffuser