The Queers

Punk Rock Confidential

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Since the Queers' formation in 1982, the band's lineup has spun people in and out faster than a revolving door in Manhattan. Still, the roster featuring singer/guitarist and founder Joe King, bassist B-Face, and drummer Hugh O'Neill lasted long enough to establish itself as the group's champion incarnation. So when O'Neill quit the band to battle a brain tumor (unsuccessfully) and B-Face left to join the Groovie Ghoulies, followers rightly wondered how King would sustain the loss. But King not only forged ahead, he penned tunes that rank with his finest. Enlisting members of Jon Cougar Concentration Camp to back him, King cut Punk Rock Confidential. He also re-upped former songwriting collaborators Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel and Cub's Lisa Marr, who have a history of bringing out the best in King's beefy pop-punk style. But what marks this as a step forward is his vulnerable optimism on "Everything's O.K." There's still plenty of bile on songs such as "Rancid Motherfucker," but this far into his career it feels less like King is bitter and more like he simply enjoys writing tuneful diatribes. Much more indicative of this album's bright vibe are songs such as "The Sun Always Shines Around You," written with Marr, "Today I Fell in Love," and "Don't Mess It Up."

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