Pansy Division


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Having already made a noteworthy splash with their debut, Pansy Division -- still searching for a permanent drummer, with Liam Hart doing the duties on this effort -- followed it up with Deflowered, another collection of wry, silly, and heartfelt takes on love and life among gay men and boys. Song titles like the Chris Freeman-sung "James Bondage," "Rachbottomoff," and "Beercan Boy" -- the latter about a guy favored by nature not so much with length as with girth -- show that their frank sense of humor hadn't gone anywhere. Musically speaking, Pansy Division here aren't so much punk as enjoyable enough power pop with a flash of metal stomp here and there, with Jon Ginoli's engagingly nerdish voice obviously betraying his love of Pete Shelley (which, among other things, explains the fierce and fun cover of "Homosapien" that concludes the CD). His guitar playing, in general, is engaging rather than rampaging and his harmonizing with Freeman is sweetly enjoyable (check out "Groovy Underwear") -- even quicker clips like "Anonymous" are active but not knock-the-walls-down explosive. That song, along with a number of others, gives a hint as to where things would go in the future with the band. The sense of loss and regret started to step forward with tales about feeling lost and desperately alone in a small town ("Deep Water") and suffering in the age of AIDS ("Denny," with a perversely chippy melody), as well as the general romantic angst of "Not Enough of You to Go Around." A winning version (with gender changed) of Jonathan Richman's "A Song of Remembrance for Old Boyfriends" fits in perfectly with the general mood. But for all that, there are hilarious slams like "Fluffy City," a portrait of L.A.'s mainstream gay/club scene with one sharp putdown after another, and the says-it-all "Negative Queen" ("He thinks he's Oscar Wilde, but he's Paul Lynde").

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