Accident Waiting to Happen (Lookout!)
by Scott Hefflon
No surprise that The Mopes are great – they’re the all-star combination of some of the best pop punk bands of the ’90s. For once, we’re not talking about members from third-rate bands that hit in the heyday of mid-’90s punk, when you could spit and hit a guy in a punk band. No, we’re talking about guys who fought against the odds, played to a couple dozen fans who screamed that they sucked and spit at them (the equivalent of clapping, check your history). They were punks when it was pretty damn uncool to be punks, and that’s what makes ’em so cool. I’ll just rattle off the names: Dan Vapid (Screeching Weasel, Sludgeworth), B-Face (The Queers, Groovie Ghoulies), Dan Lumley (Squirtgun, new Screeching Weasel, Common Rider), and John “Jughead” Pierson (Screeching Weasel). Much as I dislike doing this, the bio (for a change) describes the music perfectly: “the best pop elements of Green Day with the backbeat of the Riverdales.” Which is to say, it sounds like the Ramones and The Beach Boys as well – wonderful melodies, straight and simple, over guitar progressions that’ve probably been used a trillion times, yet sound fresh, as if they’ve been waiting for this melody to really shine. There are harmonies, to be sure, but they aren’t caked on like so many second-rate bands who seem to think it’ll compensate for subpar melodies. Hand-clapping, thigh-slapping, whoo-whoo fun is to be had here.
(PO Box 11374 Berkeley, CA 94712)