Reel Big Fish: Candy Coated Fury

Reel Big Fish, Candy Coated FuryReel Big Fish: Candy Coated Fury
People are probably most familiar with Reel Big Fish‘ mid-to-late-90s output. Propelled by the success of the single “Sell Out,” 1996’s Turn Off the Radio was the band’s sole gold album. Since that time the band has been mired with major label kerfuffle, many line-up changes, and general growing old in the ska scene. Despite all of this the band carries on, releasing their seventh studio album Candy Coated Fury.
If you are familiar with Turn Off the Radio, then you are already familiar with Reel Big Fish’ general archetypes. The band essentially writes three different types of songs: songs about relations with a twist, songs that are needlessly profane, and songs about how it sucks to be a musician. Candy Coated Fury seems to mostly be populated by relationship songs. On “I Know You Too Well to Like You Anymore,” lead singer (and sole original member) Aaron Barrett duets with Julie Stoyer. The track seems to be attempting to re-create the magic of “She Has a Girlfriend Now,” but Julie Stoyer is no Monique Powell. Further, the songs’ jokes all fall flat. Barrett quips “you’ve got no tits” to which Stoyer replies “You’ve got a needle dick.” This type of humor was okay when Barrett was in his early 20s but now pushing 40, it comes off as a little sad.
The same can be said for the opening track “Everyone Else is an Asshole.” The track essentially works as a venue for Barrett to say “asshole” as many times as he likes during a song. The profanity gets a little old and loses its shock value pretty quickly.
However do not let me completely rain on this album’s parade. “Hiding in My Headphones” is a fairly worthwhile listen and not just because it features ska legend Coolie Ranx and Barney Boom and Laila Khan of Sonic Boom Six. The track is a social commentary on the epidemic of people wearing headphones everywhere from the grocery store to driving. While the song is obviously done humorously, it is a message not lost on anyone who has a teenager. “Don’t Stop Skanking” is a mostly instrumental track that has a great Specials vibe to it. It features a hidden track after the song is over that is a first-wave style ska track reminiscent of the Skatalites. It seems like it is Reel Big Fish’ attempt to keep some credibility with long time listeners.
Despite the pull for credibility, Candy Coated Fury does not deliver much for the post-puberty crowd. The potty humor runs amok and the humor feels as played out as ever. It might be time for Aaron Barrett to get a new subject matter to sing about.
Rating: 3.5/10
MP3: Reel Big Fish “I Know You Too Well to Like You Anymore”
Buy: iTunes

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