Review Summary: Slightly Stoopid's out of print debut is a demo tape worth any beach bums time.
In 1996 a band of high schoolers from Ocean Beach California lived the dream of every young beach rocker, the band was Slightly Stoopid and the dream was getting signed to Skunk records by Sublime front man Bradley Nowell. After seeing the duo of Mike Doughty and Kyle McDonald perform, Nowell signed them to Skunk records where they recorded their currently out of print debut “Slightly Stoopid”. At the time Slightly Stoopid was still in high school and was far from perfecting the funky-reggae sound they would become known for. In fact Slightly Stoopid didn’t even have sound back then; they merely blended musical styles together trying to see what fit, making their debut an ok record with some hidden gems.
The opening track, an early version of “Righteous Man”, gives the listener a good glimpse of the album to come. It starts off with a ska beat played over a thick bass, and within seconds the guitar picks up till the listener is thrown into a fast punk song. The album is made up of mostly punk songs, because how else are high school rockers supposed to get their point across unless it’s over quick power chords and rapid fire drumming. That being said this isn’t a bad thing, songs like “Opportunities”, “American Man” and “Zero Tolerance” captures a sound of energy and excitement that only high school kids can truly jam out to. And humorously immature lyrics that you can tell went over great in their high school parking lot.
But it takes more than fast playing and some crashing cymbals to impress Brad Nowell, “Slightly Stoopid” also provides the listener with a fun ska sound that was sweeping California in the mid-nineties. The Operation Ivy sounding track “Wake up Late” and goofy live piece “Hey Stoopid” bring a feel good party message to your eardrums and leave you feeling upbeat and energetic. What I’m more impressed with is the dub you’ll find on this album, the spacey guitar playing and thumping bass give the album a chance mellow out and show off the boy’s instrumental skills. When I first saw the track ‘*** The Police” I thought it was the same song every high school punk writes, a not so subtle *** off to the boys in blue that keep them from drinking underage. But I was pleasantly surprised by the slow build up and the simple lyrics. “Smoke Rasta Dub” and “Civil Oppression Dub” also highlight the reggae sound that Slightly Stoopid would spend years honing till it was perfect.
The one thing to keep in mind when listening to this album is that your listening to a demo tape the band made in high school. “Slightly Stoopid” falls victim to the same flaw as Reel Big Fish’s “Everything Sucks” the members were young and unaware of who they would grow up to be. Slightly Stoopid is not playing the same funky reggae you’ll here on “Everything You Need” or “The Longest Barrel Ride” they are playing all they had at the time the best they could. The silver lining of it is that it’s not all that bad, if you’re a fan of Slightly Stoopid I recommend this album but if you’re a fair weather fan looking for a new album this will be nothing but a disappointment.