Remarkably inconsistent throughout his punk rock career, loudmouth Ben Weasel has put out some classic records with his band, Screeching Weasel, like the Punkhouse EP and Bark Like a Dog. There have also been quite a few duds, such as Emo and almost everything released by his Ramones-inspired side project, the Riverdales. His first solo album, Fidatevi, is a bit more personal and soul-searching than most of Screeching Weasel's records. But Weasel is best when he's sarcastic and spiteful. He's written some fine songs about girls and is good when attacking various punk rock subjects. But hearing him write serious songs about his emotions and the like can be a chore. A few songs connect on Fidatevi, at least musically, like "Imperfect World," "Responsibility," and "Take Action," with nice harmonies and scrappy, simple guitar parts. But much of the material is clunky, like "The Rays of the Sun," which is also one of the hokiest songs Weasel has ever written, and "The Ship," where his usual charming sneer of a voice is grating. Other tunes are just dull or uninspired, like late-period Ramones. One real problem is that there isn't one standout song on Fidatevi, and usually even the worst Screeching Weasel record has at least one great song. So, file this under one of his bigger duds.
by Adam Bregman