Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pansy Division album review

Pansy Division
That’s So Gay
(Alternative Tentacles)

Some bands get better with age. Such is the case with Pansy Division, one of the first out queer punk bands in the early ‘90s. They toured with Green Day on the Dookie arena tour and Billie Joe Armstrong played an electric guitar sporting PD's pink triangle logo.

With lead guitarist Joel Reader (ex-Mr. T Experience, Avengers) in tow, the California quartet now boasts their tightest lineup to date. Sixth studio set That’s So Gay deftly mixes power pop, glam, punk and garage rock.

Lead singer/guitarist Jon Ginoli and bassist/singer Chris Freeman’s lyrical topics range from mildly political (“Obsessed with Me” references so-called disgraced public figures Ted Haggard and Larry Craig; “Never You Mind” takes mindless Bible belters to task) and playfully sexual (“Ride Baby,” “Dirty Young Man,” countrified football themed “Pat Me On the Ass”) to reality checks (the title track, which should be required listening for high school and college students who casually throw the expression around without thinking how harmful it can be).

Straight man Reader sticks up for his comrades with the self-penned, Bob Mould-styled “Some of My Best Friends.” The group’s label prez, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, even guests on the hard-hitting “Average Men.”

Note: Life in a Gay Rock Band, an intriguing companion documentary plus concert DVD shown at Gay & Lesbian Film Festivals worldwide, is also available now.

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