7 July 2013

Reel Big Fish - Why Do They Rock So Hard?


Firsy off, ska-punk fucking sucks. To my ears, it sounds like some of the most banal, insipid music ever shat out of a bands collective ringpiece. It's no wonder then that it's the perfect soundtrack to those shit 'teen gross-out comedies' that came out in the mid-90's/early-00's. You know, the ones that tried to rip off the movies Animal House and Porky's but failed miserably. It's music for people who try too hard to fit into the 'slacker' stereotype and dress like one of the player characters from 'Crazy Taxi' (One of the best video games ever). But, I digress...

You're probably wondering why I'm reviewing something I'm likely to hate? Well, the blog's creator (Eddie Carter) reckoned it would be fun if each blog contributor reviewed an album that they were sure to hate. I guess it's to spice things up, challenge our palettes and for the general craic I suppose. He reviewed a Blur album (In fact, he's done two) and he hates them with a vengeance. So I got the ska-punk album due to a well documented hatred I have for such a genre. This was mainly when I was a youngster and it was all about the thrash/death/groove/grind/hardcore. In fact, any metal which involved blastbeats, chug-a-chug riffs, pinch harmonics that sounded like a scalded cat and growly vocals. The mere sound of ska-punk would make my blood run cold. Have times changed?

Well, kind of. I can see why someone would like this music. It's certainly very lively and bouncy with a thinly-veiled sense of humour in there which makes it ideal for parties. It's easy to picture a party, be it indoors, a BBQ or even a beach party with something like this playing. Unlike a lot of ska and punk, the production is top notch, definately money well spent. You can hear each guitar chord, bass line and drum beat and the brass section clearly without swamping each other and creating a mess. The vocals aren't so good though, the lead singer (Aaron Barrett) seems more content to do this tuneless holler regardless of whether it's in time or in tune with the song he's singing. This is made worse by the back-up singers who sound like they're trying to get a harmony going but again, they're not paying attention to whatever key they're in or whether it complements the key that the other guy is in. I guess they're trying to recreate a drunken singalong in keeping with the party theme or something. However, it comes as no suprise that the best song on the album is called 'Victory Over Peter Bones' which is an instrumental. It's actually a very good song, sounds like something from the 60's, especially the melodies from the brass section. It's very relaxed and chilled. The one constructive criticism I have for this album is that a lot of it can sound a bit samey but I guess that applies to anything, really. There doesn't seem to be much to distinguish each song from the others (Other than VOPB). Other than that, it's not too bad.

This review has been as impartial as i can make it and dang, it was easily the hardest one I've ever done. At least nowadays I can see the good in ska-punk but there is still no way in hell I'm gonna go out of my way to listen to it.

5 - It could have been a bit better.

Chris J.

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