Reel Big Fish – Candy Coated Fury – album review

Reel Big Fish – Candy Coated Fury (Rock Ridge)
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They may have been going for more than two decades but Reel Big Fish are still producing albums full of catchy Ska beats, albeit with puerile lyrics. 

Reel Big Fish have been pawning their ”ËœSka Punk Lite’ wares for over twenty years now and very little has changed in the camp of Aaron Barrett, aside from the rest of the band members.

The Huntington Beach fun-boys rose to prominence with their 1996 album ”ËœTurn The Radio Off’, which featured the single ”ËœSell Out’. This was one of the forerunners of what became known as the ”ËœThird Wave’ of Ska, which was essentially an Americanised repackaging for the MTV generation.

An appearance in (the Trey Parker and Matt Stone starring) ”ËœBaseketball’ the 1998 sports spoof from David Zucker, furthered their popularity and allowed their cover of A-Ha’s ”ËœTake on Me’ to be catapulted into the mainstream.

A few relatively successful albums followed, but Reel Big Fish waned somewhat in popularity, garnering only a devoted set of fans and failing to solidify a demographic within the Punk or classic Ska genres, being perceived as ”Ëœjuvenile’ and ”Ëœkiddie’.

When you listen to ”ËœCandy Coated Fury’, it’s easy to see why people would think this. There are more ”ËœYou suck’ style lyrics than you would find in a 14 year old’s ”Ëœcreative’ journal and it never really transcends beyond PG-13 territory, leaving them void of the puerile (yet occasionally mirthsome) adolescent humour of The Bloodhound Gang or Blink 182.

If, however, you have the ability to detach yourself from the lyrical wasteland, there are some really catchy, upbeat and enjoyable tunes to be found. You will find yourself getting many of the tunes wedged firmly in your head, despite what common sense and rationality may otherwise suggest. There is just something so delightfully infectious about their horn sections that you have to let go of your reservations and just enjoy it.

All words by Colin McCracken. You can read more from Colin on LTW, on his website or follow him on Twitter.


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