Screeching Weasel

Baby Fat, Act 1

Written by: PP on 18/08/2015 22:58:28

Recent years might indicate Screeching Weasel to be synonymous with drama and questionable behaviour in general, whether from aggression against fans or just general arrogance towards the industry at large. But should we go back a few more years, there's no doubt they were one of the most influential pop punk bands and pioneers at the no-frills pop punk sound. They even managed to release a solid comeback album in 2011 with "First World Manifesto". Unfortunately, that's where the good news end.

You see, infamous frontman Ben Weasel has finally let his megalomania surpass the maximum acceptable limit. "Baby Fat Act 1" is a 27 song punk rock opera loosely based on the Italian opera of Rigoletto by Giuseppi Verdi, which is largely sung by Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves instead of Ben Weasel himself. Now let's take a moment to absorb that knowledge because Screeching Weasel isn't exactly known for their variety. They're known to kick ass at simple pop punk songs that helped bands like Mxpx and Chixdigit!, not to mention modern heroes in Teenage Bottlerocket define their sound. How does simple three chord pop punk translate into a concept album of sorts? Well, just as is the case with the vast majority of ridiculously long concept albums: not very well. For every catchy song that echoes Mxpx and thereby Screeching Weasel's classic 90s records, there's enough filler to make you consider putting on another record.

Secondly, Dahlia's vocal approach isn't exactly suitable for the light pop punk of Screeching Weasel despite the band occasionally toying with heavier pop punk elements. We'd much rather her Ben Weasel run down the principles of pop punk in timeless fashion; instead we get heavier vocals that don't complement the pop punk sound at all.

In interviews, Weasel has gone into great length about describing the characters in the story and how many songs were rewritten completely so they would be more suitable in developing them as the story goes along. That might be true and works to a certain extent, but let's be brutally honest here: we're not expecting an Oscar-worthy feature film performance, nor an art house version either. After all, we're not watching a legendary tv series, we're just listening to some music. As a result, the record feels waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy toooooooooooo loooooong to make a difference. Meh.


Download: I've Got VD; So Long, Mojo; Tower Of Talent; All Winter Long
For the fans of: Mxpx, Chixdiggit!, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Queers
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.05.2015
Recess Records

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