Oh man, what 15-year old me would do if he saw me giving Reel Big Fish’s new album 2/10 stars. With that in mind, it’s not lightly that I say this is a weak attempt at a comeback for the band, who haven’t released any new material since 2007’s “Monkeys For Nothin’ And Chimps For Free.”
What’s clearest about this album is the lack of growth between it and almost every previous release. The tracks here are virtually indistinguishable from anything else in the band’s discography, with only the (under-utilized) saxophone parts to let the listener know this is actually something new…blandly, mundanely new. Also, the guys seem to have a big thing for “Woah woah” and “na na” gang choruses. I guess that’s one thing to do when you run out of lyrics about your ex-girlfriend.
Maybe I’m being too harsh. I am, as I mentioned before, a long-term fan of The Fish. What turned me around this time was my false hope for some new sounds by the band. With trumpet/guitar/keyboard/vocalist Scott Klopfenstein leaving last year, and the new addition of a third horn player (Goldfinger’s Matt Appleton on tenor sax) I was curious to see if the band would expand a bid stylistically.
Any tongue-in-cheek humor the band once showcased seems to have deteriorated into something much more juvenile and much less entertaining. Overall, everything mixed together to create a boring, albeit polished record. If you are a diehard Reel Big Fish fan who has loved everything they’ve ever released, this album is probably for you and nobody else. “With all due respect” seems to be such a fake insincere term, but considering this band was and still remain icons of the genre, they do deserve that level of dignity and I will continue to keep an open mind to upcoming releases. So, with all due respect to the gentlemen of Reel Big Fish, if putting out the same album a dozen times is your thing, go ahead, but it’s just not mine. 2/10 fishes.