JOE LALLY: Nothing Is Underrated [Dischord]

When Fugazi bassist Joe Lally released 2006 solo debut There To Here, he confounded and disappointed many longtime fans of his seminal rhythm-section work. Lally’s intense, world-aware lyricism was at odds with the sparse minimalism of the music, which consisted of bass, occasional drums/programming and little else. Not much has changed in the algebra that went into Nothing Is Underrated, but the end result is much warmer and more accessible. Whether it’s because the lyrics are of a more personal/poetic bent or because there are more guests (Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto, among others) dropping by to add their musical science to the proceedings, Nothing Is Underrated comes off like a simmering piece of 21st-century blues. No, Lally isn’t playing I-IV-V changes—as if—but the deceptive simplicity and introspective honesty at play here somehow jell more cohesively than on There To Here. There’s still nothing to remind you of the roiling bass line of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room,” but listeners who’ve matured half as much as Lally has in the two decades since that song was written will likely find much to appreciate on Nothing Is Underrated. []

—Jason Ferguson