Though they issued a vinyl-only debut in 2002, 2004's I Told Her That I Like Living in a Box is the first time many are hearing the Fiction. A trio, the band doesn't have the luxury of amplifying its post-hardcore blare with twin guitars. Instead, vocalist/guitarist Colin Bartoldus, bassist/vocalist Dima Drjuchin, and drummer Marc Grillo focus on spiny, distraught blasts that rarely last longer than three minutes. It's a refreshingly raw sound the suggests not only the abrasiveness of Shellac, but the tightly wound volatility that typified Dischord Records' roster in the early '90s. Though the vocals and guitar lines regularly shatter like dropped florescent tubes, the Fiction link that explosiveness to well-crafted rhythmic breakdowns that only build the tension. Album standouts include "I'm a Supporting Character in the Movie of My Life," which has done its damage and gone before you're done saying its title, as well as the tumbling, jerking chords of opener "Bad for Glass" and the comparatively rocking "History in Our Name," where intense electric guitar slams into Drjuchin's Joe Lally-ish bassline. "A = A" approaches screamo levels before dissipating into another introspective rhythm section moment, while Bartoldus spits his lyrics in true hardcore fashion for the relentlessly hurdling "I Once Had Sex With a Girl (And I'll Never Forgive Myself)." The Fiction's vocals remain at throat-damaging levels throughout. It's not the most expressive technique, and the lyric sheet is a necessity for anyone wondering what all the yelling's about. But the style does fit with the overall grainy quality of Living in a Box, how it suggests an imaginary black line broken every other second by sharp vertical strokes and prickly tacks. The Fiction also include an eager cover of the classic New Order single "Ceremony."
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus