Screeching Weasel – Some Freaks of Atavism

Ben Weasel has had a legendary/storied career, not only with Screeching Weasel but also The Riverdales, a popular underground Ramones-esque punk outfit formed while Screeching Weasel was on the outs. But ever since an infamous 2011 incident at SXSW, he’s been canceled/blacklisted. Band members resigned shortly after the incident, the band’s tour dates were erased, and no record label wanted to put out Screeching Weasel anymore, despite a fan base that still craved new material. Not helping the situation was/is Ben Weasel’s reputation for being outspoken with sometimes unpopular opinions in an era where free speech isn’t so free anymore, anchored by closed-minded, “woke AF,” non-individuals who can’t think for themselves, especially in a punk scene that’s turned into more of a hippie drum circle than anything else.

It has been over five years since Ben Weasel put out a full-length Screeching Weasel record, and although it was well known among hardcore fans of the band that new material was on its way, or at least being worked on, no one expected a digital album to drop by the end of March. But that’s what happened and what a welcome surprise for fans in these quarantined times.

The album, which was produced by All-American Rejects’ Mike Kennerty (who also produced the last two SW albums), opens up with Weasel’s signature bratty, sneering lead vocals mixed in with all the pop-punk trappings, including pristine ’50s/’60s-esque pop background vocals. What is old is new again and parts of the album feel like a SW time capsule. “To Hell With You” is very reminiscent of Boogadaboogadaboogada! (1988) while “Settle In” mirrors Anthem for a New Tomorrow (1993). “Turn it around” is a banger of a duet with Josie Cotton (ya’ know, the singer of ’80s song “Johnny Are You Queer?”). “Problematic” pokes fun at social justice warrior culture, “being woke,” “safe spaces,” and “micro-aggressions,” which is sure to piss off most of the modern punks – but I mean, isn’t that point of punk rock in a way, to provoke/piss off?

Some Freaks of Atavism is a simple, straightforward, no frills, throwback pop-punk record, solid from beginning to end, and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for most fans of punk or old pop-punk, but especially SW’s loyal fans.

Screeching Weasel
Some Freaks of Atavism
[Monona]