A definite warning sign of a band on the slide is any adoption of a faux persona, especially one with a comic-based animal basis.
That’s what Fishbone went for on this 1996 release. The band had been dumped by Sony, and two original members had departed. They presumably felt they had some point to prove, but they did themselves no service with the primate choice.
The album’s deceit is that the band can be seen as some mutant chimpanzee with various bizarre (and not particularly interesting) powers. The band seems to be drawing some analogy to their fight with ‘the man’, against ‘racism’ and against dullness.
That would all be fine and dandy and acceptable if the music behind their rants and eccentricities was enjoyable. Unfortunately, they lean towards the more irritating ska-funk attributes – horn blasts, juvenile lyrics (indeed, scat-obsessed on at least one track), ranty digressions – and fail to deliver much in terms of memorable, uplifting pieces.
The fall from grace here is a big one. I am tempted to explore the intervening effort and the pre-Reality works as this was a band with so much promise.
File under: Ass sandwich
I doubt there is an album in my collection which so regularly gets thrown in the CD tray for only two songs .
Fishbone deliver two classic funk-rock tracks here, covering off on each end of the weather spectrum: Everyday Sunshine and Sunless Saturday
Both are horn-heavy jams, with fantastic rhythms and an energy that is uplifting and contagious.
I should play the whole album more regularly as it is a very cohesive set of power-funk. These guys bridge the world of Parliament and James Brown with punk-ska. As with Parliament, they are not afraid to get out the squealy rock guitar, and the riffs are even more metal-audience-friendly.
They nail anthems, with Fight the Youth and Pray to the Junkie Maker joining the aforementioned duo of gems as the sort of tracks you pray to hear in the live context.
A good mate still rates seeing them on their 1991 or 1992 Aussie tour among his best gigs here. I did eventually catch these guys live, but well after the career peak which was the masterpiece. They still had sufficient mojo to have me querying why their fellow-LA-sters Red Hot Chilli Peppers made it big while these guys didn’t:
File under: This reality doesn’t bite
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Tagged album, album review, CD review, Fishbone, funk, James Brown, music, music review, Parliament, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, ska