“How To Make Enemies” begins with “Planet Of The Apes”, a typical Screeching Weasel sound that yet has intense arrangements all around it. For example, the bass line present on the song is always present, but has a stepped-style sound to it that shows a cognizance of where Danny was in relation to the band. The entire sound of the band has been increase substantially in the space of one year (the original release date of How To Make Enemies was a year after “Anthem”), and tracks like “I Hate Your Guts On Sunday” have multiple layers to properly thrill all listeners (for example, there are multiple guitar layers and double-vocals on the track).
The result of this increased output are two-fold; first off, Screeching Weasel has put less tracks on this album than any of their others and secondly, a listener has to invest much more into their experience with this disc. Tracks like “If I Was You” actually show Screeching Weasel expanding their sound and even showing some contemporaneous influences; the track has more than a passing comparison to early Fifteen. There seems to be much more of a bite on this album; lyrics like those on “Degenerate” (In another lame quest to be this month’s kings of the shitheap… Reality dosen’t mean a fucking thing out here in candyland … It’s all about street creds dropping names sucking up and shaking hands) show that there is (and always will be) a problem with the local scene politics.
Still, there is something for everyone to find on this album; “Kathy’s On The Roof” is pure Weasel with bouncy bass, straight-forward guitars and a chorus that is catchy enough to never leave one’s brain after they listen to the track a few times. The sense of humor present through Screeching Weasel’s music does not disappear after they pick up the activist flag; the last track of “How To Make Enemies” (“I Wrote Holden Caulfield”) is a direct retort to Green Day’s song “Who Wrote Holden Caulfield”. Screeching Weasel came up with another instant classic, and this disc is truly the top of the hill for a full sound and a strong contingent of tracks. While I haven’t heard the original version of these songs (as these are re-masters), comparing them to “Boogadaboogadaboogada” really shows miles and miles of difference. A definitive album, re-mastered and completely worth your time and money.
Top Tracks: Kathy’s On The Roof, Johnny Are You Queer?
Screeching Weasel – How To Make Enemies & Irritate People / 2005 Asian Man / 18 Tracks / http://www.screechingweasel.com / http://www.asianmanrecords.com / Reviewed 09 June 2005