They use the term `gay' loosely

Total Entertainment (Alternative Tentacles)
Pansy Division

By Kevin Gibson

One of the best things about Pansy Division is that it recognizes itself in the mirror - four guys singing about homosexuality, interspersing real live human emotions with humor. Upon first listen, this act is at best a gimmick. But if you get to know them, you realize these are mature people who are quite comfortable with their station. And if you can take them on their terms, you can easily enjoy the music, whether you're straight, gay, bi or somewhere in between.

Important Asset No. 1 for Pansy Division: These guys know how to write a pop song. If Blink 182 is a pop-punk gimmick (and it is), Pansy Division is a band that is so far past that gimmick that it isn't even in the rear view mirror any longer. Front man Jon Ginoli has been doing this since his days back in the late 1980s with his band the Outnumbered.

Important Asset No. 2: Pansy Division is smart enough not to take itself too seriously. That goes with the comfort level and the maturity. "When He Comes Home" is a quite serious song about confessing an affair. It tells the listener to stand up and be honest about transgressions. On the same disc, PD offers up "He Kicked My Ass in Tennis ...," a country parody about gay lovers and tennis partners who even the score in the bedroom. Laugh-out-loud funny.

If you're familiar with the band's catalog, Total Entertainment is somewhere between Wish I'd Taken Pictures and the last release, the somewhat more somber Absurd Pop Song Romance. Songs like "Blurry Down Below" and "Alpine Skiing" (think about it) are tongue-in-cheek (or wherever) Pansy Division classics, while "Spiral" is just a damn good rock 'n' roll song.

If it weren't for the fact Bush is in office and conservatism reined, these guys might be superstars. And I'll bet they could write a fun song about the name "Bush," too.