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Askew Review 15

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- Pleasant Screams (Lookout) There comes a time in every band’s life where they either try to start doing something different or they attempt to recycle what’s best about what they’ve been doing all along.  Sadly, most bands, after they’ve played together for a decade or two, fail at both.  The Queers (well, let’s be honest here, Joe [King] Queer), however, aren’t most bands.  This disc’s name, Pleasant Screams, (for the tiny minority reading this that doesn’t know, it’s in homage to the Ramones’ excellent, underrated 1981 release Pleasant Dreams) tells you everything you need to know.  Simply put, this CD finds the Queers still holding true to their original Ramones influence while also mining the best of what’s made them uniquely them over the last 15 years or so.
         Setting the stage for this nostalgiathon is the opener, “Get A Life & Live It,” a revamped yet still cool version of a track from their 1998 Everything’s Okay EP.  Moving on a bit, “Danny Vapid Ain’t A Faggot” is the best song about somebody who played in Screeching Weasel since “Ben Weasel” from their 1994 release, Beat Off.  And the cool thing is that ol’ Danny Vapid not only played on that one, but he plays on this one as well.  Fuckin’ brilliant on so many fronts, my friends.  The irresistible “Homo” (Did I say that?) revisits the theme of badgering a gay guy into coming out that was so nicely done in “Queerbait,” which was released a couple years ago as well.  They also throw in the requisite ‘60s obscure-ish cover track with their solid version of The Choir’s “It’s Cold Outside,” which rivals past efforts like their cover of The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright” (I’ve only ever heard that one live- I wish I could dig up a recording of it) and their Herman’s Hermits take-off, “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got An Ugly Daughter.”  And to digress a little bit, I always wanted to write a song called “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Filthy Asshole” but it just never jelled for me.  Probably would’ve sucked anyhow.  “See Ya Later Fuckface,” “Psycho Over You,” and “Tic Tic Toc” are also as instantly likeable as any of your old Quee-yahs favorites. Ya know, when it’s all said and done, I probably didn’t need to go into all this geekish detail.  All I really had to say was that if you truly like these guys, get Pleasant Screams.  There’s absolutely no fuckin’ way you could be disappointed. –Ben Hunter



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