GREG ASHLEY: Fiction Is Non-Fiction: LP

I’m not certain who would think it’s a good idea to open up an album with a ballad in 6/8 time played with brushes on the snare, but given that the demographic to which such a move would appeal must be a narrow but presumably deeply passionate one, if that’s your bag, you oughtta be all over this one. Greg seems to be a quirky yet not altogether nontraditional songwriter cut from the Gordon Gano mold—i.e., right when you start to get too comfortable with his precocious lamentations, he’ll throw in something sassy or moderately outrageous like “I’m such a lazy man, take my eggs in bed / you’re such a hungry girl, with your pussy of lead” just to see if you’re still listening—the downside being that Fiction Is Non-Fiction reminds me a lot more of the second Violent Femmes album than the first. It also sounds a bit like an Americanized version of the Jazz Butcher’s Sex and Travel record, minus, unfortunately, large amounts of the wit and charm. Things heat up for a while on side two, with a stompin’ cover of Briard’s “Fuck the Army” leading into “Blondes and Cyanide,” a similarly uptempo number, but this record currently sits in a certain spiritual limbo with me as I am unsure if the irritation this guy provokes in me makes it worth my while to see if the album grows on me with repeated listenings. On the one hand, you never know. On the other hand, why take such chances? BEST SONG: “Fuck the Army.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Gabriella Has Another Dance” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Also includes a Sonic Youth cover. I just noticed that. –Rev. Nørb (Dusty Medical)