Editors' pick

Joe Lally

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Editorial Review

Album review: "Why I Should Get Used to It"

If the third solo set by longtime Fugazi bassist Joe Lally sounds more rooted than its predecessors, that's probably because it is. "Why Should I Get Used to It" is the Bethesda-bred musician's first album since moving to Rome four years ago and features just two accompanists, guitarist Elisa Abela and drummer Emanuele Tomasi. (A cellist appears on one number.) Lally is still building his music from the ground - that is, his bass lines - up. But this time around, it sounds more cohesive.

The album includes a few musical fragments, notably the short, driving "Ken-Gar," which serves as a prologue to the galvanizing title track. And Lally's compositions, like Fugazi's more abstract later material, remain skeletal and shifting, with dublike dropouts and jazzy rhythms. Yet such faster songs as "Coral and Starfish" and "Last of the Civilized" reach forceful crescendos.

Lally's style does have one limitation - his not-quite-sung vocals. They're effective much of the time, especially since his protest lyrics tend to be coolly skeptical rather than consciousness-rousing. But the title song is the album's highlight not just because it has a great groove - it's the one tune where the singing conveys as much feeling as the instruments.

--Mark Jenkins, Nov. 18, 2011