Toronto
2 min

Old pansies bloom afresh

He whipped my ass in tennis....

FLOWER POWER. The new Pansy Division release is the best yet. Credit: Xtra files

For their first new album in five years, Pansy Division’s Total Entertainment is much more up-tempo and humorous than their last album Absurd Pop Song Romance. Billed as the first all-gay rock band, the Pansies, who now have the cutest drummer in rock music, were formed in San Francisco in the early 1990s by guitarist and singer Jon Ginoli. That era included quite the explosion of queer rock bands but none have survived as long and as successfully as Pansy Division.



Their latest offering sounds tighter, sharper and ultimately more entertaining than anything they’ve ever done. Aging well isn’t something that happens in the gay scene all that often, but these pansies continue to pull it off especially with their very fun and high-energy live shows. I admit I rarely listen to Pansy Division records because I’d rather see them live – they always bring their in-your-face lyrics to life on the stage. This new record of garage rock, power pop and ’60s psychedelia sounds more diverse than usual, with the band citing such influences as Blondie, AC/DC, Tones On Tail, Queen and Cheap Trick.



The lyrics are all about gay love, monogamy, threesomes, first-time sex, betrayal and other relationship dramas. Their quips are clich├ęd and cheesy but always work because the band is seriously down-to-earth without any hint of pretentiousness. On the song “Too Many Hoops” the moan is about unresponsive lovers. “You put up so many barriers, I get more calls from long distance carriers.” The track “No Protection” is a radical shift for the band as this disco-fused number really rocks. It’s about a cute guy wanting to have unsafe sex. They continue giving us lessons about gaydom with songs about anti-drugs and being so high because you’re living a life that you despise.



“He Whipped My Ass In Tennis, Then I Fucked His Ass In Bed” is hilarious as they use the bongo to further the insanity of the lyrics. “But after months of practice, finally he got his assed kicked. I whipped his ass in tennis, then he fucked my ass in bed.”



Make sure you let the 15th track finish so you won’t miss the bonus track, a 12-minute opus on life at the mall that is truly the highlight of this rockin’ and fun album. The world wasn’t ready for an all-gay rock band in the past, but considering gaysploitation is the latest rage in pop culture, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this band playing at next year’s MTV Video Music Awards.



TOTAL ENTERTAINMENT.

Pansy Division.

Alternative Tentacles/Mint Records. $15.