Oh Reel Big Fish, you never fail to impress. Without a shadow of a doubt, I will easily say that Reel Big Fish are one of my favourite bands of all time. They’re consistently good, both on the stage and in the studio and have never let me down. For the purposes of this review, I promise to set aside my feelings and attachments for RBF and I shall don my professional reviewing hat for the next few paragraphs.
The last album that Reel Big Fish released was ‘Fame, Fortune And Fornication’; a 10 track cover album that featured mainly songs from the 80s. Five years have passed and the band have finally released some original material in the form of ‘Candy Coated Fury’. This is studio album number seven and it’s essentially what RBF do best; 14 tracks of happy sounding, energetic ska-punk with misanthropic and humorous lyrics. Although, while listening to this, I found that frontman Aaron Barrett was perhaps a little trigger happy with the distortion pedal, making them sound a little like the punk-heavy Less Than Jake. But, other than that, this is your standard, well written, Reel Big Fish album.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a RBF album if it didn’t have a cover or two thrown in there. The ones featured here are ‘The Promise’ by When In Rome and ‘Don’t Let Me Down Gently’ by The Wonder Stuff, and it goes without saying that they are performed to perfection. There are even a fair few guest appearances, like on ‘Hiding In My Headphones’, I was overwhelmed with joy when I heard the voices of Sonic Boom Six‘s own Leila K and Barney Boom.
In other reviews, I have criticised bands for not being more diverse, so I am going to be hypocritical here and say that RBF do not need to change a thing. Their music has matured as they have, but they have always still stuck to their ska-punk values. Songs like ‘Famous Last Words’ are slower and more melodic than most, whereas ‘Everyone Is An Asshole’ is classic RBF. If you’re not familiar with RBF, perhaps you should start with their more famous albums such as ‘Cheer Up’ or ‘Turn The Radio Off’. There’s nothing wrong with this album per say, it’s just those ones are just a better entry point.
As a long time fan of the band, I can safely say that they’ve done themselves proud with this latest release and I’m sure you will think so too.
Written by Andrew Roberts