Screeching Weasel
Thank You Very Little
(Lookout)

This compilation of demos, covers, outtakes, rarities and live tracks features 50 songs on two CDs. Though about a third of the first disc is disappointing (do we really need to hear demos of tunes that sounded better on the albums My Brain Hurts and Wiggle?), the rest of disc one is great. The naughty highlights include "Amy Saw Me Looking at Her Boobs" and the 1986 ditty "I Hate Old Folks," but the best tracks here are the covers, particularly Stiff Little Fingersí "Suspect Device" and D.O.A.ís "The Prisoner." And letís not forget "You Are My Sunshine," replete with purposefully out-of-tune singing. Disc two features an unedited live Philly show from 1993, when Screeching Weasel was at their pop-punk peak. The 17-song set illustrates how much The Ramones influenced the Weasels, not just in style but also live: Almost every song segues into the next with little or no break. Their best live cut is the Happy Days-influenced "Joanie Loves Johnny," its intense feedback and powerful drumming during the second verse were not achieved on the studio version. Unlike many rarities collections, Thank You is a worthy purchase ó an excellent testament to why the band reigns as a punk-rock institution.

-John Osborne

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(c) John Osborne