The Queers

Pleasant Screams

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Joe King is just like that guy in high school who was constantly about half buzzed on a combo of cheap beer, bad weed and carbon monoxide fumes from the tailpipe of his barely-running '74 Monte Carlo. At best, his future probably involved a job at the comic book store, but he just seemed to be having more fun than most people. 2002's Pleasant Screams marks the Queers' 20th anniversary, with King the sole constant member, but like King's obvious heroes the Ramones (note the album title and its similarity to 1981's Pleasant Dreams), one can't say there's been much in the way of growth or, heaven forbid, maturity. The Queers' first full-length release since longtime drummer Hugh O'Neill's death from cancer in early 1999, Pleasant Screams is a familiar but highly enjoyable collection of boppy little two-minute pop-punk gems, ranging from the sunny little love songs "Tic Tic Toc" and "Debbie Be True," both of which show King's unabashed love of '62-'65 Beach Boys, to the self-explanatory "See Ya Later Fuckface," which has the album's catchiest chorus, and the gay-positive (yes, really) "Homo." A killer cover of the Choir's classic 1966 single "It's Cold Outside" is another highlight. Pleasant Screams won't change the mind of those who don't like this brand of funny/stupid juvenilia, but it's by far the best Queers album since 1995's Don't Back Down.

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