Friday, September 14, 2012

Album Review: Candy Coated Fury

Title:  Candy Coated Fury (Amazon, iTunes, Interpunk)
Artist:  Reel Big Fish (Official, Facebook, MySpace,, AllMusic, Wikipedia)

In the mid-1990s there was an explosion of bands playing a hybrid of ska and punk, called, not surprisingly, ska punk (or ska core).  This sub-genre was essential started by three bands in the late 1980s--The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Voodoo Glow Skulls, and Operation Ivy (Fishbone also played a hybrid of ska and punk and funk and a bunch of other stuff starting in the early to mid-'80s but I consider them to be the predecessor to what was commonly considered skapunk).  Ska punk really exploded with Rancid's ...And Out Come the Wolves and No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom, though neither band was a full blown ska or ska punk band, they brought the ska sound to the masses.  During this time a slew of bands hit the scene playing ska punk, some were really good (Skankin' Pickle, Slapstick, Less Than Jake, and Buck-O-Nine) and some were really bad (Goldfinger stands out to me more than any other band as the prime example of a terrible ska punk band).  The problem with ska punk is that it can be a genre that sounds like it’s built around a gimmick.  The good bands never had this problem but the bad ones sounded like trite shtick.  

Reel Big Fish started in the early ‘90s and have released eight albums since.  Their latest album Candy Coated Fury sounds like a record that could have been released in 1996.  At this point, Reel Big Fish is a tight band that knows their craft well and this record sounds like a well oiled and worn machine.  The fact that this band has lasted as long as they have is a testament to their staying power and while they do what they do well, they aren't quite at the level that The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Skankin' Pickle, or Buck-O-Nine reached in their hey days.  That having been said they are a LOT better than Goldfinger.  Fans of Reel Big Fish should definitely check out Candy Coated Fury.     

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