The Queers

Grow Up

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The Queers' debut album ran into more than its share of problems. Recorded in sporadic bursts between 1987 and 1990 (whenever the Portsmouth, NH-based band could scrounge enough money for studio time), the album was scheduled to be released in 1990 on Shakin' Street, but the U.K. label went out of business before the album could come out. The Queers then pressed the record themselves (oddly listing Shakin' Street as the label), but when the group couldn't pay their bill, the pressing plant destroyed all but about 160 copies, which the group finally released with a bootleg-level photocopied cover insert. When Lookout! Records signed the band in 1993, a remixed version of Grow Up was among the first things the label issued. Coming after 1993's excellent Love Songs for the Retarded, Grow Up's flaws are pretty obvious: near bootleg-quality sound, a comparative lack of catchy tunes, and some of leader Joe King's most obnoxious lyrics. On the other hand, "Junk Freak" is an entertaining statement of purpose, and "Gay Boy" finally addresses the suspicions of homophobia surrounding the band's name (as do King's revised liner notes on the Lookout! release). More to the point, two songs illustrate what makes King's more puerile moments worthwhile; the winsome pop-punk love songs "I'll Be True to You" and "I Met Her at the Rat," a giddy tale of punk rock love set at Boston's famed punk club, are sweet, funny, and bubblegum-level catchy. This is the side of the Queers that King would develop more fully in later releases.

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