Team Dresch

Personal Best

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Of all the punk records to come out of the 1990s, Personal Best comes closest to actually recapturing the sheer passion and rage which originally spawned the movement two decades earlier; where other bands whine on endlessly about running out of beer money or losing the right to skateboard in the park, Team Dresch confront real issues -- bigotry, oppression, religion, self-worth -- with a sense of conviction and immediacy that lays to waste everything in their path. For an album that lasts less than 25 minutes, Personal Best is a draining, relentless experience -- it explodes on contact, the cumulative result of years of pent-up anger, frustration and desperation finally allowed release. What distinguishes Team Dresch from the vast majority of their queercore compatriots is that they never put their politics ahead of their songs -- each of these ten tracks is airtight, with melodies as blistering as the lyrics. And while some songs are explicitly polemical -- "Hate the Christian Right!" would undoubtedly send Ralph Reed into apoplectic fits -- and others like "Growing Up in Springfield" are deeply personal, there's ultimately no separating the two; Personal Best is above all a call-to-arms, which in the end is exactly what a great punk record should be.

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