Greg Ashley

Medicine Fuck Dream

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Greg Ashley's debut album came accompanied by comparisons to two other Longhorn State-bred singer/songwriters of a decidedly individual, esoteric frame of mind: Roky Erickson and Mayo Thompson. While the legit psychedelic legacies of those two artists are a lot to live up to--or, as the case may be, a lot to live down -- Medicine Fuck Dream mostly succeeds at doing just that, with a brand of shaggy acid-folk that seems piped in from its very own bleary bizarro dimension. Recorded mostly by himself over the course of 14 months or so (from autumn 2001 to the close of 2002), three-fourths of it in either his parents' house or garage in Texas, the album can't help but convey a downbeat, fragile insularity. Except for an entirely apropos and endearingly sweet cover of Hank Williams' "Lost Highway" (Ashley set out for California just before the album was finished) most of the songs are essentially loopy love letters, and what else could they be from a precocious twentysomething? Some are childlike and lovely ("She," the lilting "I Said, 'These Are Lonely Days'"), some revved-up ("Apple Pie and Genocide," a trucker anthem if ever there was one), others haunting and dreamy (like "Deep Deep Down," which sounds like a narcotized John Lennon epic). Even when the prevailing mood is a sort of barbiturate-dense, otherworldly lethargy, there is a certain buzzy energy to the (dare one say Dylanesque?) stream-of-consciousness lyrics of songs such as the molasses-consistency, poison-flavored bubblegum pop of "Karen Loves Candy" ("and lady lady lady lady lungs/lipstick sticks thick lips and tongue") and "Legs Coca-Cola" ("weak meat mannequin bakery blues"). On hearing Ashley's music, Greg Dulli proclaimed, "This kid's a star." He is, and this album proves it, but he'll undoubtedly make even better ones in the future.

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