"Candy Coated Fury" (Music Inc. Studios; 2012)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers


I've been a fan of Reel Big Fish for a long time. Their musical style consists of horns, harmony and (when you amp them up with ska guitar), well, I will just toss the remote after I've cued up the disc. My first exposure to Reel Big Fish was through my friend Marty Woodard who played the song "Suckers" off the disc "Cheer Up!" (2002). After that, I was hooked. Their previous disc of metal covers (2009) didn't fair so well so it was good to see them root back down to their snarky lyrics and trademark rhythmic swaying horns section on "Candy Coated Fury."

There are a few drawing elements of Reel Big Fish that fire on all musical cylinders. First, the lead vocals are incredible. Add in some of the best harmony around and you've laid the first piece of the foundation down. The horns are always in fine form and I'm sure all the band geeks love it when the trumpets and trombones come in with their short blasts. The guitar is really great on this disc; the riffs alone are the grit that keeps Reel Big Fish's ska flag waving high. Finally, the drums are very tight and keep all the rest of the band in check.

Reel Big Fish pen some of the funniest songs. The track "I Know You Too Well to Like You Anymore" is a relationship song, of sorts. Most of their songs are about relationships but this one is a crack-up because a break up is beyond a fix now. Reel Big Fish also mix their songs up between the full-on horn tracks and the little ditty rockers they are known for so this disc moves in and out of the ska circle but keeps its consistency. Reel Big Fish cover the track "The Promise" originally recorded by When in Rome as the closing track. It sounds different done by them, almost closer to a UB-40 version.

Reel Big Fish: Aaron Barrett guitar, lead vocals; Dan Regan trombone, vocals; John Christianson trumpet, vocals; Ryland Steen drums, percussion, vocals; Derek Gibbs bass guitar, vocals; Matt Appleton harmony vocals, saxophone, baritone saxophone, organ.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2012 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03 Jun 2024 13:03:50 -0400.