Review Summary: Reel Big Fish are pissed off at people again. So they wrote a song about it, and another, and another…
Reel Big Fish has always been known for consistently putting out fun and catchy ska-punk tunes. These songs have created the soundtrack to the last 5 summers of my life. So, when I saw Candy Coated Fury
at a Reel Big Fish show not too long ago, I had to pick it up. Much to my disappointment, I found that this would be the worst Reel Big Fish record yet.
Reel Big Fish have hardly undergone a single change in sound or style throughout their whole career, and Candy Coated Fury
is no exception. This has earned them a spot as one of third wave ska’s most well known groups. However, maybe a change is what Reel Big Fish needs. Candy Coated Fury is the sound of a band whose dwindling well of creativity has finally run dry. While it may be comparable to other Reel Big Fish fare, Candy Coated Fury
is outright boring. First track, “Everyone Else Is An Asshole” reminds the listener right away that nothing has changed for the band. Lead guitarist and vocalist Aaron Barnett is pissed off at people again, so he wrote another song about it, and another, and another.
Highlights of the album are few and far between. Instrumental track “Don’t Stop Skankin’” features good horn parts and reminds the listener of The Toasters’ “Weekend In LA”. The final track, “The Promise” is another strong point. It is the slowest track on the album and is more reggae focused than ska-punk. While there are high points present, they do not rescue the album from mediocrity. In fact, they are so overshadowed by the other 12 tracks that it’s easy to forget that they’re even there.
The primary pitfall of Candy Coated Fury
is that it lacks any form of dynamics. In other words, it’s plain. Each one of the 14 tracks blends into the other and the album turns into 55 minutes of fast-tempo upstrokes and distorted power chord choruses. The lyrics are lacking in substance present in earlier Reel Big Fish releases and the hooks in each track are nearly the same. By no means is this is this an absolutely terrible record, its just not a good one. Perhaps it could be improved by removing 4 or 5 tracks and bringing the run time down from a tedious 55 minutes, but quite honestly, the time for Reel Big Fish to stop writing new music has arrived. Candy Coated Fury
makes it quite apparent that the band has run out of ideas and is just rehashing everything they’ve done over the last 17 years into a record that any Reel Big Fish fan has already heard before even putting it in their CD player. I believe I speak for most of their fans when I say that after listening to Candy Coated Fury
, I’m not exactly clamoring for any new Reel Big Fish music.