Unlike mainstream rock musicians who’ve crept out of the closet timidly, delivering platitudes about why one’s sexual orientation is really no big deal, the Northwest’s raucously sexy Team Dresch says it loud — and frequently — they’re dykes and they’re proud. From the debut album’s title and cover art (both borrowed from the lesbian coming-of-age film) to biographical advisories noting that “none of [the band’s] members have ever had a boyfriend,” the Portland/Olympia quartet (which for a time included drummer Scott Plouf of the Spinanes) is anything but coy about its sexual subtext. Fortunately, Team Dresch — named for bassist (and riot-scene godmother) Donna Dresch — realizes that bands can’t live by frankness alone and takes the time to thread two-minute punk-pop outbursts like “She’s Crushing My Mind” and “Hate the Christian Right!” with sharp, memorable hooks that pierce the pleasure center just as surely as the lyrics get that grey matter to stewing. There’s no denying the seriousness of the underlying message delivered by singer/guitarists Kaia Kangaroo (Wilson, formerly of Adickdid) and Jody Coyote (Bleyle, who also holds down the drum slot in Hazel), but the joy with which they deliver it proves even riot grrrls wanna have fun.
Captain My Captain improves the assault on all levels. The playing and production (by John Goodmanson) are harder, tighter and more musically entertaining; songs like “Uncle Phranc,” “Don’t Try Suicide,” “The Council” and “Musical Fanzine” deliver important ideas with artful intelligence, cool vocals and a wry sense of irony.
Hard on the heels of Team Dresch’s second (and final) album, Kaia released her eponymous solo debut, an acoustic folk outing.