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Rhythm & Views

Fucoustic

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Cover bands aren't really taken seriously by most music critics and enthusiasts. There is, however, a loophole: If you can take a song, reinterpret it and add a new element that makes the song somehow your own, then cover away, my friends.

Austrians Daniel Amann and Andi Ganter of Fucoustic live permanently in the cover-band loophole, which is why their record, Fucoustic Plays Fugazi, is fascinating enough to merit this review, even though you can pretty much only buy the record by contacting the band through their Web site (http://fucoustic.objectis. net/). Fucoustic take songs by Fugazi and play them entirely on acoustic guitars, hence the name "Fucoustic."

Fugazi, as most fans can tell you, is all about creating guitar sounds; thus, to take a Fugazi song and play each and every part on an acoustic guitar is at once beautiful and unsettling in a good way. "Forensic Scene," from Fugazi's Red Medicine, sounds more tragic and emotional on acoustic guitars, and "Break" from End Hits, sounds jazzy and haunting. "Cashout" and "The Argument," both from Argument, use cello to help accent the basic melodic structure of the songs, which are much more subdued than the originals. That's to be expected from acoustic guitars and cello, but it only enhances the angry and melancholic nature of the songs. Some songs, though, sound virtually unchanged, like "Birthday Pony" and "Sweet and Low." But in each case, without the aid of effects and drums and bass, the songs on Fucoustic Plays Fugazi are reduced to their essential tensions, and, not surprisingly, hold up well. Ian MacKaye has even given Fucoustic his blessing.

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