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Personal Best

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Album Review

Of all the punk records to come out of the 1990s, Personal Best comes closest to actually recapturing the sheer passion and rage which originally spawned the movement two decades earlier; where other bands whine on endlessly about running out of beer money or losing the right to skateboard in the park, Team Dresch confront real issues — bigotry, oppression, religion, self-worth — with a sense of conviction and immediacy that lays to waste everything in their path. For an album that lasts less than 25 minutes, Personal Best is a draining, relentless experience — it explodes on contact, the cumulative result of years of pent-up anger, frustration and desperation finally allowed release. What distinguishes Team Dresch from the vast majority of their queercore compatriots is that they never put their politics ahead of their songs — each of these ten tracks is airtight, with melodies as blistering as the lyrics. And while some songs are explicitly polemical — "Hate the Christian Right!" would undoubtedly send Ralph Reed into apoplectic fits — and others like "Growing Up in Springfield" are deeply personal, there's ultimately no separating the two; Personal Best is above all a call-to-arms, which in the end is exactly what a great punk record should be.

Customer Reviews

a landmark queercore album-still fresh and unparalled 11 years later

A beautiful union of equal parts punk and pop---personal best is an album that sounds sonically as fresh and engaging today as it did when I first heard it 11 years ago (!) With Kaia Wilson and Jody Bleyle splitting lead vocal duties (between songs and verses)... personal best is filled with wild and wonderful lyrical and melodic schizophrenia. The musicianship is first rate, the guitar tones are rich, crunchy and swirling... the bass lines thumping in one song and sounding like the ghost third guitar in others. The drums drive every song--raving up every chorus with power and precision and grooving back down in the verses. The musical mastery of this album is surpassed only by the brilliant nuance of the lyrics.

Best queercore album ever

If you can't dig Freewheel...you have no hope. A classic.

Biography

Formed: Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Queercore revolutionaries Team Dresch formed in Portland, OR in late 1993, originally comprising bassist Donna Dresch (formerly of bands ranging from Dangermouse to Dinosaur Jr.), singer/guitarist Jody Bleyle (also of Hazel), singer/guitarist Kaia Wilson (ex-Adickdid) and Spinanes drummer Scott Plouf. The group played its first show on New Year's Day 1994 minus a name, considering Magic Animal and Dyke Access Road before finally agreeing on Team Dresch; after recording their Kill Rock Stars debut...
Full Bio
Personal Best, Team Dresch
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