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A matter of perspective.,
This review is from: Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free + DVD (Audio CD)
Your opinion of this record is all down to your perspective. If you already love Reel Big Fish (which for the record I do) and just want them to churn out the same thing over and over, then this album delivers in spades. If however, you like bands that like to develop and try some new things this will disappoint.
This album features a cover of Phil Collins' "Another Day In Paradise" in a ska-punk style. If the idea of ska-punk covers of popular hits still amuses and appeals to you as something fresh, then you will love this version and it is exactly as you would imagine it to be. If however, you think this smacks of "ticking the boxes" and is a lazy going-through-the-motions type of manouvre that might still work live but wears a little thin on record, then you will be somewhat less impressed by this cover for the very same reason - it sounds exactly as you'd expect it to.
Sweary song "Another FU Song" is admittedly pretty darn good, but it does seem to be an absolutely bog-standard RBF lyric of the type we've already heard a dozen times before. If that's what you want then you'll love it, if not you'll probably still be nodding your head and tapping your feet but through somewhat gritted teeth.
"Don't Tell Her I Have A Girlfriend" is just covering the same old ground both musically and lyrically and is particularly weak.
All that said, this is still an enjoyable album just a little disappointing as after some recent attempts by the band to stretch their creative muscles and try new ideas this first album since losing their record deal seems like a retreat of sorts to the tried and tested possibly for commercial reasons.
However all is not lost, "Party Down" is an instant classic that manages to put RBF's neat ability to emulate any musical style into a conventional song format (as opposed to the normal live multiple verions of their classic "S.R.") and closer "Cannibal" is the best thing on this album by a long distance and is up there with the very best of their material. Its extended instrumental coda which is both catchy and melancholic is also a warm and welcome sign that they still have it within themselves to surprise us. Hopefully on their next record they will feature more moments like this rather than a closing part to the potential "Beer", "Drinkin'" trilogy.