July 5, 2007

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Reel Big Fish, Monkeys for Nothin & The Chimps for Free
Rock Ridge Music, 2007

Take heart, young ska and punk bands, the longer you stick around, the more hateful things you’ll experience in this life, leading to better songs, more adulation, more recorded output and bigger disappointments. It’s like a big snowball, and after fifteen years of pushing the limits of ska-punk, Reel Big Fish are an example of a hotel-sized super-snowball. Sure, in another dimension they’re huger than James Blunt and Justin Timberlake put together, but that dimension’s a lot more fun than this one, because the bands drop F-bombs as though it were the last hurrah in Afghanistan, and shut up, it’s pretty funny. Matter of fact, if you’re sure you’d be into Barenaked Ladies as boneheaded, beer-poisoned toddlers, seek no more – the Sony-less Fish are in a great mood without their old major label albatross screeching in their ears. When they aren’t trying to get ska to eat itself they make musical puns that hot-foot James Bond and nipple-tweak Twisted Sister, and when they aren’t doing either of those things they’re wishing doom upon ex-girlfriends for growing too mature to deal with them anymore. The only beach-bonfire party scenario where this wouldn’t go over big is one you wouldn’t want to crash in the first place. BEric W. Saeger