Fastbacks

The Question Is No

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Featuring 14 songs spanning 12 years (and five drummers), The Question Is No is not only a terrific introduction to Fastbacks, but an excellent summary of the early years when they were one of the dozens of Seattle punk bands who couldn't get a hearing outside of Washington. While from the start Fastbacks were a band that loved first-wave pop-punk (think Ramones, Buzzcocks, and Rezillos), theirs was pop-punk with a difference; Kurt Block was willing to betray his fondness for '70s rock in his guitar solos, and his lyrics suggested the confused and angst-ridden internal monologue of an adolescent while dealing with the hopes, fears, and everyday realities of an adult. Bloch managed all this in a manner that was at once personal and unpretentious, thanks in part to the vocals of Kim Warnick and Lulu Gargiulo, who blend the offhand blather of punk with a sweetness that gives this band a very human warmth. Compiling singles, compilation tracks, and a few unreleased tunes (including one with a teenage Duff McKagan behind the traps), The Question Is No is as good as collection as you could ask for of the band's formative period and features some of their most energetic, rollicking performances.

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