The Queers are old as spit … or at least Joe Queer is. However, every time there is a Queers release I think back to those great songs off of “Grow Up”, “Don’t Back Down”, or even “Punk Rock Confidential”. As years have gone on it is apparent that Joe Queer has shifted towards crafting easygoing pop punk tunes that one might listen to on a beach. However, with the title of their new release it appears that the Queers are attempting to add a little more of that early sound into their tunes. Just like when any veteran band wishes to reclaim some of that nostalgia (see: Ramones), it would be hard to fault any punk fan that has a little hesitation in listening to some new Queers music.
Apparently recorded in approximately 23 hours, “Back to the Basement” doesn’t fool around with lengthy diatribes. Aside from the three minute soft pop epic of “Everyday Girl” towards the end of the record, the album’s thirteen tracks easily skirt under thirty minutes. Do the math and you’ve got yourself a punk record.
“Rollerdog” starts the album off with an instrumental rock tune that has a similar gritty tinge as the “Spy Hunter” theme. Until that aforementioned three minute track, the songs essentially blend together after the introduction. The title track probably stands out the most with its steady tempo and classic punk delivery. In fact, “Outta My Skull” and “Pull Me Out of It” falls in that category too. Like I said, the songs tend to blend.
The Queers opt for a few quick sub-minute jabs with “I Knew GG When He Was a Wimp” and “I’m Pissed”, the latter of which is only around for forty-seven seconds. I suppose if you’re pissed for only forty-seven seconds then it’s more of a tantrum. Are tantrums punk rock?
Joe Queer’s vocals aren’t anywhere near the forefront for all of the songs, so one will have to choose whether to get wrapped up in the quick guitar riffs, rabid drumming, or lyrical deciphering. Given that some of the songs are entitled “Don’t Touch My Hat” and “Keep It Punk”, I imagine no one is searching for Shakespeare here anyway. Some of old Bill’s sonnets took longer to read than this record anyway.
One might believe that, given the similarities between songs and the speed at which they were created, the Queers are mailing one in. It’s possible, for there aren’t any tracks that truly stand out as punk rock revelations nor are there any songs that one may prefer to hear over some of the band’s older stuff. That said, this is likely more of a record for the current set of Queers fans that are looking for something that rings of the old days. If that was the band’s aim then the group’s sixteenth or so effort is a modest success. Although it won’t impress many with its creativity, “Back to the Basement” definitely provides the quick jolt needed to go back to the fridge to get another beer and some mohawk gel.