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Album review: Reel Big Fish “Life Sucks…Let’s Dance!”


Best known for ushering in the third wave of ska in the mid-90’s Reel Big Fish are back with their ninth full length studio album Life Sucks…Lets Dance!, their first since 2012’s aptly named Candy Coated Fury.

Reel Big Fish make their living taking serious lyrical content and covering it in a sugary-sweet wrapper and delivering it with upstroke guitars, bouncy brass work, and wonderful vocal harmonies. They have perfected the craft of making people dance to songs about depression, self-doubt, failed relationships, and the grind of everyday suckitude. Life Sucks…Lets Dance! continues this premise with fourteen ways to dance away life’s grind.

The album opens with the titular “Life Sucks…Let’s Dance” and it’s clear that this album is meant to be a distraction from reality. ‘They’re saying things are worse than they’ve ever been, looks like the bad guys are going to win, and nobody here is gettin’ out alive….maybe if we have some fun we won’t feel so bad’ Aaron sings over a happy sounding trumpet line. This dichotomy is also present in “You Can’t Have All of Me” where he laments about all the things in life that are vying for his time and how he does not have enough time for himself, presented alongside a sublime trombone solo.

There are several songs that have the classic Reel Big Fish vibe. There is the trumpet fanfare fueled and angry “Pissed Off”, the 80’s rock “Bleached Thang, Baby” that sounds like a song they forgot to put on Why Do They Rock So Hard?, and “Another Beer Song” which copies the themes from Turn the Radio Off’s “Beer” but with an opening chorus of ‘Whoas’ that sound lifted from the Misfits “American Psycho”.

Where Life Sucks…Let’s Dance! really seems to shine is in the second half. “Ska Show” and “The Good Old Days” are two covers from Forces of Evil which featured several members of the current Reel Big Fish lineup. These two put the ska in ska-punk and are highly danceable tunes. This is followed by “G.D. Beautiful Day” which may be my favorite track on the album, is a bright shiny happy middle finger to all ‘these assholes trying to ruin my life’. It’s an optimistic song that is almost out of place on a Reel Big Fish album. The album ends with “I’d Rather Get It Wrong” and the instrumental “Walter’s Highlife”. The first a toe tapping ska tune about being in love, even if it is not a perfect love. The latter being exactly the type of instrumental you would expect from someone wearing Hawaiian shirts all the time. It’s got infectiously sweet guitar work, bright beautiful horns, and a Caribbean samba vibe.

The one miss on this album is “Bob Marley’s Toe” which, when based on instrumentation alone, is an absolute banger of a reggae tune. But upon further review of lyrical content, it seems out of place. RBF have never shied away from joke songs but this one falls flat and the “I wish this song was longer/No you don’t” breaks the fourth wall a little too accurately.

Life Sucks…Let’s Dance! is not breaking new ground for Reel Big Fish, however it delivers one of their catchiest albums and some songs find them at the best they have ever been. It’s a very solid 4 out of 5 checkered pork pie hats.

4/5 Stars

Reel Big Fish announce new album “Life Sucks… Let’s Dance!”, premiere new single “You Can’t Have All Of Me”

Reel Big Fish are back with the surprise release of a new single titled, “You Can’t Have All Of Me,” and have announced plans to release ‘Life Sucks…Let’s Dance!,’ their first LP of brand new material in 6 years, on December 21 via Rock Ridge Music.

The single, a high energy skank-athom that is sure to please both longtime fans and new converts, is one of 14 new tracks that makes up the upcoming album. Check out the music for it below.

The Maxies streaming new song “Girl With The Horn Rimmed Glasses” off upcoming album “Nuuk ‘Em All”

Greenland-by-way-of-SoCal pop-punk titans The Maxies are streaming a new song called “Girl With The Horn Rimmed Glasses” off their upcoming album “Nuuk ‘Em All.”

You can check it out here.

“Nuuk ‘Em All” is due out on April 22, 2016 through Rock Ridge Music. The band’s debut full-length Greenland Is Melting was released in 2011.

Reel Big Fish announce European tour dates

California ska-punk veterans Reel Big Fish have announced some European tour dates to take place this fall.

Check out the full list of dates and locations below.

Reel Big Fish’s latest full-length album Candy Coated Fury was released in July 2012 through Rock Ridge Music.

Full Set Video: Reel Big Fish live @ House of Blues Chicago (Jan. 21st, 2015)

California ska veterans Reel Big Fish are currently touring the US with Less Than Jake and Authority Zero, and high quality, multi-cam footage of their show at the House of Blues in Chicago has made its way online, courtesy of Yahoo Screen Live!

Check it out below if you’ve got an hour and 12 minutes to kill, and head over here to see if they’re stopping near you on tour.

Reel Big Fish recently released a holiday-themed EP titled Happy Skalidays, which you can listen to here. Their latest full-length album Candy Coated Fury was released in July 2012 through Rock Ridge Music.

Reel Big Fish reveal details on holiday EP “Happy Skalidays”

Ska legends Reel Big Fish have announced that their first holiday albumHappy Skalidays, will be released on December 15th. Just in time to get you in the spirit, the above artwork will mark this 6 song, digital only EP.

The band will also take part in a winter co-headline tour of the US with Less Than Jake and special guests Authority Zero. You can check out those dates below along with more info on the holiday album.

Reel Big Fish’s latest album Candy Coated Fury was released in July 2012 on Rock Ridge Music.

Suburban Legends launch Kickstarter to fund upcoming album, stream clips of new demos

Huntington Beach ska-punks Suburban Legends have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the recording and release of their upcoming full-length album. The band plans on releasing the record in the winter/spring of 2015 and they’ve already raised nearly $3,000.

Head over here to check out their hilarious pitch video, take a gander at the different reward tiers, and contribute to the campaign if you wish to do so. They’ve also got a music player with clips of demos for new songs, so be sure to check that out while you’re there.

Suburban Legends released an EP of Disney covers called Dreams Aren’t Real, But These Songs Are last October through Rock Ridge Music. Their latest full-length album was 2012’s Day Job.

Reel Big Fish add more dates to the third leg of the Don’t Stop Skankin’ tour

Ska legends Reel Big Fish have announced some additional dates for the third leg of “The Don’t Stop Skankin’ Tour.”  After their stops in the US and Amnesia Rockfest in Canada, the fishes will be swimming across the pond for some UK and European dates.

You can check out the full list of dates below.

Reel Big Fish’s latest album “Candy Coated Fury” was released in July, 2012 on Rock Ridge Music.

Suburban Legends announce US headlining dates

Huntington Beach ska band Suburban Legends have announced a handful of headlining US tour dates for the month of March. Check them out below.

Suburban Legends released their latest album, an EP of Disney covers called “Dreams Aren’t Real, But These Songs Are,” last October through Rock Ridge Music.

Dan Regan announces departure from Reel Big Fish

Reel Big Fish trombonist Dan Regan has announced that he has decided to leave the long-running ska band. The band made the announcement via Facebook, while also letting Dan have his say and explain his decision. You can read Regan’s official statement below.

Reel Big Fish released their eighth studio album (and final album with Regan), Candy Coated Fury in August 2012 through Rock Ridge Music.

Suburban Legends stream three more songs from “Dreams Aren’t Real, But These Songs Are”

Huntington Beach ska act Suburban Legends are streaming three more songs from their recently released EP “Dreams Aren’t Real, But These Songs Are”. Suburban Legends are streaming their covers of “You Got A Friend In Me”, “Colors Of The Wind”, and “Beauty And The Beast”.

Click here to listen to the three cover songs. Click here to buy the album.

The EP was released on October 8th through Rock Ridge Music, and it consists of only covers of classic Disney songs.

Music Video: Suburban Legends – “Kiss The Girl”

Huntington Beach ska act Suburban Legends have released a music video for their cover of “Kiss The Girl” which will be featured on their upcoming EP “Dreams Aren’t Real, But These Songs Are”. The EP consists of only covers of classic Disney songs, and it will be released on October 8th through Rock Ridge Music.

Click here to check out the video.

Suburban Legends last released “Day Job” in 2012.

Suburban Legends stream “Duck Tales” from new Disney covers EP

Today we’re stoked to bring you a stream of a new song from California ska band Suburban Legends‘ upcoming EP “Dreams Aren’t Real, But These Songs Are,” which consists of nothing but covers of classic Disney songs!

Check out the band’s cover of the “Duck Tales” theme song below and, if you like what you hear, head on over to Interpunk and pre-order a copy of the EP before it’s released on October 8th through Rock Ridge Music.

Reel Big Fish release live music video for “Everyone Else Is An Asshole”

Orange County ska-punk stalwarts Reel Big Fish have released a music video for their song “Everyone Else Is An Asshole,” consisting of live footage from some of the west coast stops on this year’s Warped Tour.

You can check it out right here.

“Everyone Else Is An Asshole” appears on the band’s latest album “Candy Coated Fury,” which was released in August, 2012 on Rock Ridge Music.

Attack! Attack! call it quits

The UK’s Attack Attack! have called it quits. Here’s what they had to say:

“It is with much regret that we have to inform you that Mike and Ryan are no longer in Attack! Attack! . We sat down with Ryan in early 2012 and he told us that it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to commit to the band. We hoped that this situation would change but unfortunately it hasn’t. Since recording the album Mike has decided that the time has come for him to move on too. Will and I totally respect their decisions and hope that they have great success in whatever they choose to do moving forward.

The 4 of us have shared some amazing moments together. We have toured the world , released albums, played shows with some of our favourite bands and met the most incredible people. All of these memories are priceless to us. To be honest we couldn’t imagine continuing the band without Mike and Ryan being in it , Attack! Attack! was meant to be the 4 of us together and if it can’t be that way then Will and I feel it is better for the band to finish. We have not made this decision likely, we have spent months and months deliberating what to do. It has been one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make.

The tour we have booked will still be going ahead but unfortunately for personal reasons Mike and Ryan will not be able to play with us . We will be asking our friend Todd from Straight Lines and Paul from Colours Of One to play with us on the tour. This tour will of course now be our final ever tour as Attack! Attack! so we really hope you can join us for a show and sing along with us for one last time. Let’s make it a send off to remember!!! Sincerely , from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your support. Without you none of this would have been possible. Neil , Will, Mike and Ryan”