Screeching Weasel

First World Manifesto

Written by: PP on 22/03/2011 06:19:24

Perhaps one of the most iconic pop punk bands of the previous generation, Screeching Weasel are much cherished by the older generation for the wealth of classic albums and seminal tracks they released throughout the 90s. They released eleven albums worth of songs that influenced dozens upon dozens of bands you probably listen to today from the newer generation of bands in the genre. It has been eleven long years since the last Weasel release, so if should you not be familiar with the bands output other than the infamous "Cool Kids" song, you'll be forgiven. But not if you won't check out their twelfth studio album "First World Manifesto", a glorious reminder of what pop punk used to sound like before the likes of All Time Low, Hit The Lights, Fall Out Boy (etc) poisoned it with an overload on pop at all fronts, musical and image-wise. That's not to imply they aren't good bands in their own right, just that they changed the face of pop punk forever.

You see image, trends and fads are probably the last thing that come to mind when listening to a Screeching Weasel record. There's simply no space nor need for such artificial ways to inflate your bands fame when almost every song they write fits the definition of pop punk brilliance. Their music is best characterized by great, fun melodies that are as infectiously catchy as they are high tempo, all the while keeping feet firmly grounded. The music is wholly un-pretentious and un-polished, though not in the raw sense, merely without production gimmicks or vibes of grandeur songwriting. By that description, the songs should fall within rather ordinary melodic punk, but with Ben Weasel's snotty, no-frills vocal approach and irresistible choruses, they are elevated to a much higher level.

The term 'enjoyable' is one you associate throughout any Weasel album, including "First World Manifesto". Listening to a song like "Friday Night Nation" will take you straight back to classic mid 90s distorted guitars that have been left sounding clean and vivid, almost certainly reminding you of classic Mxpx material to whom Weasel was a huge influence. It's a throwback to the days when pop punk was an integral part of the punk movement, and the pop part was used just to describe how the songs were catchier than the melodic hardcore and melodic punk bands, not to associate the band with mainstream culture. "Baby Talk", another highlight on the record, is as good as 90s styled pop punk gets with a fantastically simple but memorable chorus, whereas "Fortune Cookie" will remind you of early Green Day material. A track like "Beginningless Vacation" is basically the starting point for bands like Banner Pilot and Teenage Bottlerocket, both groups that pride themselves for a no-frill, straightforward melodic punk approach with great melodies.

It's easy to blubber on and on about "First World Manifesto", but really the only thing you need to know is this: "First World Manifesto" is every bit as good as the classic Weasel albums. They've stuck to the same formula for ages, but that's good because Screeching Weasel isn't just a classic example of "don't fix it if it isn't broken", they're more like "don't-you-dare-change-anything" kind of band to most people.


Download: Friday Night Nation, Baby Talk, Beginningless Vacation
For the fans of: Mxpx, The 20Belows, Teenage Bottlerocket
Listen: Myspace

Release date 15.03.2011
Fat Wreck Chords

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