Less akin to the stylistic grab bag of 1998's Are We Not Femme? than the largely punk-fueled fury of its follow-up, Population 1975, 3 is the aptly titled third full-length from Durham, NC's the Butchies. Unlike their debut's mishmash of punk, disco, and folk, the queercore trio's subsequent efforts have settled impressively into rough and tumble rock & roll, subtly blending the elements of the various genres they initially employed so blatantly. Which isn't to say 3 doesn't offer a wide emotional and musical variety. These nine tracks shift from classic rock riffs to pop-peppered hand claps and back again -- often in a single song -- and singer/guitarist Kaia Wilson's vocals are more plaintive and powerful than ever, building on the urgency so present on the band's previous outings. Of course, as is respected and expected from the band that wrote "The Galaxy Is Gay" and "Gertrude + Stein," 3 is chock full of poignant and politically personal songs about growing up queer. The Butchies have yet to misstep, yet even still, the third time's a charmer.
by Jimmy Draper