Album Review: Reel Big Fish – “Candy Coated Fury”

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.

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Comments 8

  • It’s definitely not their best work, but it’s still an enjoyable album with the same feel as all their previous albums. Saying that a band sounds the same on this album as their previous albums is retarded. If it didn’t people would complain that the band had changed it’s sound. If you actually like RBF, you’re still going to like this album. Saying it’s more juvenile than any previous RBF album isn’t true. I’d suggest that it’s more that the listener has matured some in the last 5 years so it just seems more juvenile, but honestly RBF have always written juvenile humor and this album is no different. I think this review is more a case that the listener has matured, while the band has stayed in the same place they’ve always been. Not that that is a bad thing for the reviewer, but to anyone who still loves listening to previous RBF albums, don’t worry you’ll still love songs off this album too.

    • As far as humor is concerned, I genuinely feel like songs like “Don’t Start A Band” or “She Has A Girlfriend Now” were genuinely funny with some clever lines/witty quips. There was nothing on this album even similar.

      The only surefire way to turn good music into bad music is to repeat it over and over again.

  • Couldn’t agree more with the review. People laud bands for staying ‘true’ to themselves, but this is stale. There are other ska bands who are managing to keep ska fresh.

  • Ok, so my rating is based soley off “I know you too well to like you anymore” since that is the only song I’ve heard in it’s entirety off the album. Still I think one star is a little harsh, and it seems more like trying to make a point than a legit review. It sounds like a Reel Big Fish song to me and a fairly catchy one at that. I just think if your sole critique is that the band has not progressed from their earlier stuff, which is the only real complaint I see in the review than wouldn’t something along the lines of 3 stars be more appropriate?

    • Perhaps 2/10 is a little to harsh, yes, but I really think that the complete lack of originality in the songwriting PLUS the lack of progress create just a completely boring record. In re-reading my review I realize I also didn’t stress enough the really flat lyrics. In earlier material like “Turn The Radio Off” or “Don’t Start A Band” they did a great job with the whole jaded-musician style of lyrics, whereas now, the quality has deteriorated to shit like “Hiding In My Headphones” which feels like it was taken from a seventh grader’s notebook. In any case, thanks for your honest opinion and critique.

  • This album rocks, your a hater sir. Theres maybe three songs that are skippable.

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