Listen Up: Wednesday, September 26, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
TexasRide

The Distance Between the Truth & a Lie (Moonlight Industry)

By Ken Shimamoto

Everything about this package fairly screams “Americana”: the sepia-tone photos, the beat-up old pickup truck, the funky old house (in Weatherford?), replete with window AC units. But the band’s haberdashery raises questions: Is that a Speedtrucker Stetson or the Supersuckers’? Is the guy in the porkpie paying homage to Tom Waits or Marshall Crenshaw? These are important questions that demand investigation.

First track: “Sweet Ashley.” Sure, there’s a whole generation of girls named Ashley (and Brittany, and Courtney), but somehow it just isn’t as evocative a title as, say, “Sweet Angeline” or “Sweet Jane” or “Sweet Lorraine” or ... you get the idea. The opening bit of tremolo guitar, joined by drums and bass, is kinda intriguing. But then the lead guitar comes in, the all-too-familiar scream of Gibson-through-Marshall, then the singer, with that nasal, tonsil-tortured sound, and the cover is blown. It’s Guns n’ Roses!

In fairness to these guys, that’s just one track, and it certainly doesn’t make this a bad record. However, with its preponderance of slow-to-midtempo rockers, making optimal use of that mid-’60s Dylan-with-the-Band keyboard sound so beloved of Counting Crows, The Distance Between the Truth & a Lie isn’t exactly a compelling listen, either. Rather, it’s competent but undistinguished country-rock, with emphasis firmly on the Rock. I keep waiting for one of these songs to pull me in with a melodic hook or a keen turn of phrase ... and waiting. And waiting.

On the other hand, it’s an extremely well-produced record. Mike McClure and the band have created a big, ballsy studio sound, full of presence. And I’ll bet the songs sound great live. All that’s lacking is some substance to go along with the sonic excellence. But what the heck. No Depression readers will probably love this.


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