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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Review: Screeching Weasel - Weasel Mania

Weasel Mania has a teeny tiny subtitle that reads "Mortgage Payment". If you press your nose against the cd and move back slowly as you listen you can just make it out. There's also a new website and Ben Weasel writes a blog.

Ben's settled into a respectable adulthood of novel writing, band starting but never finishing and milking the Screeching Weasel cow. The compilation Thank You Very Little came out in 2000 and Kill The Musicians in 1995, but there's still no place to find the Pervo Devo version of "I Wanna Be A Homosexual" with the intro by Bruce LaBruce. Their comps all seem random.

The Screeching Weasel discography is exceedingly mixed, some albums with little replay value at all. I like My Brain Hurts, half of Wiggle, Anthem For A New Tomorrow and Emo. Ben's solo album Fidatevi (ask for it by name) was pretty good even though it kept hitting the same harmonic high point the best Weasel tracks managed to rise to. The Vindictives were the better snot punk band, The Queers more well rounded and The Lillingtons the better conjurers of the Johnny Ramone guitar wall, but Screeching Weasel was there early and made an impact in their scene greater than the others (The Queers are probably their equal in the big picture). They probably also invented the guitar solo based on the infamous one-note solo in the Ramone's "I Wanna Be Sedated", which seems very labored and inexact to the point where you're cheering on the guitarist not to screw up.

Screeching Weasel record some amazing tunes when the chords ring true and the lyrics don't pander to the idiocy of The Kids. Maybe that's a solid third of Weasel Mania. Another solid third panders to teenage idiocy as in pushing units by pushing the lowest common denominator of crowds for which Ben can only have contempt. A weak third of this disc is just middling. I was expecting "Burn It Down" but in it's place was maybe "Joannie Loves Johnnie" with its cliche Happy Day references. Ben can be clever though: "She says her armpits are hairy cause it's natural/ So why does she shave her head?" As Ben loves to admit it's all hit or miss with Screeching Weasel.

I wouldn't recommend this but you should start with Anthem For A New Tomorrow and work from there.


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