Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Music Reviews: Various Artists - "Screech Like A Weasel: A Tribute To Screeching Weasel"

Tribute albums are a funny thing....most of em suck so bad that they can't even be considered a tribute to anything except the inflated egos of the bands butchering the originals. Case in point, "We're A Happy Family: A Tribute To The Ramones". Was this REALLY a tribute to the Ramones? Or just some ridiculous way for U2 and Eddie Veddar to stroke each others cocks so they can say "we're punk rockers too"? Anyone remember that Clash tribute album from back in the 90's? Y'know the one that had No Doubt and 311 taking a shit on everything The Clash stood for? No? Me either...moving on! Well, FINALLY someone got it right! The new album "Screech Like A Weasel", a tribute to one of the most important punk bands to come out of Chicago ever (next to, of course, Naked Raygun), Screeching Weasel, is a true to the original sound, feel and attitude album made up of 27 songs by 27 bands who DON'T take a steaming shit on the bands music...instead they're doing what they were tapped to do...pay tribute to this legendary band!

DeeCracks cover "This Ain't Hawaii" so true to the original, you'll do a double take thinking it IS the Weasel version. When you get bands who were obviously influenced by Screeching Weasel it's easy to make a tribute album that's fun and worth acknowledging. Whether it's The Larroquetts covering "I Hate Led Zeppelin", Hopewrecker doing "The Science Of Myth" or The Bricktops killer version of "Every Night", it's just one monster track after another. These bands are so worthy of being on this comp it's not even funny.

With most of these tunes extremely true to the original there are a couple of stand out tracks that caught me off guard...but in a GOOD way! The Bluffingtons do a wonderful acoustic version of "Six A.M." that makes me wonder if Weasel's original version would have been somewhat better if they would have unplugged for this track. Hmm, something to think about. Le Volume Etait Au Maximum do, possibly the best track on this album, "Your Name Is Tattooed On My Heart" half in French and half in English. Which, by itself is an amazing feat, because they really pull it off! But, what makes it just that much more spine tingling is that they electrify their version with solid playing, beautiful melody and even flavor the song with some piano. But where as the original was kind of a slow chugging eerie song with a very faint Ben Weasel singing way in the background, this version is a straight up rocking version. GREAT job guys!

If every tribute album could be half as good as this one, than I would have a major change of heart. But until that time I'll just blast this bad boy full volume to remind everyone around me why Screeching Weasel was so important to, not only Chicago, but to the punk scene in general. I know those days of the "classic" Weasel line up will never again see the light of day, and that's okay...times change and people move on. But we all have our memories of where we were when we first heard them, or a certain song, or even one of the legendary shows we were at. THIS is what paying tribute is all about. Anyone out there planning to pay tribute to a band should use this album as the blueprint to follow in order to do it right!

You can download the album for free on Bandcamp so there's no excuse why you shouldn't already have this album.

5 / 5 stars


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