Even In Blackouts - Myths & Imaginary Magicians (Cover Artwork)

Even In Blackouts

Myths & Imaginary Magicians (2003)


Thankfully, it didn't take a VH1 special for me to realize that Screeching Weasel was not just the Ben Weasel show.... Which, in my defense, was not a hard conclusion to come to in the mid-90's. After all, Ben Weasel was the one with the smarmy MRR column, the one whose periodic bursts of bloated bombast would invariably send little shock waves through the punk community and the one who scripted the shockingly readable liner notes to "Kill the Musicians."

Even in Blackouts first - and hopefully not last - album entitled "Myths and Imaginary Musicians" shows a punk band featuring a mandolin, playing music written by Jughead and sung by some woman, with Dan Lumley (Common Rider) on drums.

Unlike some undead "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" mutant though, this thing is ALL good.

The music is decidedly pop-punk - think a happier Screeching Weasel around the "Anthem for a New Tomorrow" - but it also shares some strikingly folk-rock roots. Indeed, it has a sort-of fiddle and story-of-the-Devil quality about it. But this doesn't mean there's no punk cred: included are covers of "Hey Suburbia" and Operation Ivy's "Knowledge."

The last track on the album, entitled "Summer Comes" is a good representative of the album as a whole. The chorus is cheery, but sung with just a bit of bite: "Smile Summer will come. Smile. Some summer will come." The music is fast with a bright guitar - possibly mandolin - solo and a driving drum line.

In fairness, this album isn't for everyone. The acoustic element will probably turn off the Rise Against crowd and both female vocalists and pop-punk have their partisans. Nevertheless, if you're willing to try something a bit different Even in Blackouts has put together what may be the finest and most memorable pop-punk album since the heyday of Screeching Weasel... and it is definitely the most mature album that anyone connected with the name Jughead has ever put his stamp on. It is a memorable stamp and one that I'm just starting to recognize, even though I've appreciated it for years.