BUGS, THE: Self-titled: CD

For full disclosure, I’ll start by saying that I’m friends or at least friendly with the people who are in this band. And those people have been in some of the most important bands in my musical development. The Bugs are made up of Dangerous Dave (the Queers, Jon Cougar Concentration Camp) on bass and vocals, Russell of the Rich White Males on guitar and Chris Fields (the Dwarves, the Queers, and Jon Cougar Concentration Camp) on drums. So, what you have here is one-half to two-thirds of the Queers and Jon Cougar Concentration Camp, depending on which lineup we’re talking about. And while the Queers and Jon Cougar Concentration camp are both recognized for their poppy, occasionally sophomoric punk rock, they both have also recorded some of the sharpest, wittiest songs in the pop punk reservoir. With the Bugs, however, you get what amounts to an album of all of the Queers dumbest material. As an example, the first three songs on the album are titled “Lesbo! Lesbo!,” “Never Went Gay,” and “Back on the Weed.” Musically, it is very solid and follows in the tradition of the Queers: extraordinarily tight, perfectly played pop and punk rock songs. Chris Fields’ drumming marches along as if being conducted by a drill sergeant. Russell’s guitar style finely balances between Johnny Ramone style buzz saw rhythms and Thunders-esque flourishes. All of the songs will catch you tapping your toes and bobbing your head, despite the lyrical matter, though the highlight, in my opinion, is “Dopefiend,” which recalls some of the sweeter Beach Boys-inspired Queers material. If you like your punk rock offensive, or if you realize that, like the Queers and Angry Samoans and others before them, the lyrics are clearly satirical, then what you will have here is one of the better (and dumber) punk albums in your collection. 

 –Jeff (World)