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Reel Big Fish - Candy Coated Fury (Cover Artwork)

Reel Big Fish

Reel Big Fish: Candy Coated FuryCandy Coated Fury (2012)
Rock Ridge Music

Reviewer Rating: 1
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Contributed by: NobleStabbingsNobleStabbings
(others by this writer | submit your own)

As lame as it might sound, Reel Big Fish holds a special place in my heart for several reasons. Back in grade school, they became my absolute favorite band; I'd spend hours listening to nothing but Why Do They Rock So Hard? and Turn The Radio Off while trying to hide from my parents the fact that a .
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As lame as it might sound, Reel Big Fish holds a special place in my heart for several reasons. Back in grade school, they became my absolute favorite band; I'd spend hours listening to nothing but Why Do They Rock So Hard? and Turn The Radio Off while trying to hide from my parents the fact that a lot of their lyrics weren't very appropriate for a 12-year-old. My very first concert was a Reel Big Fish show. Perhaps most importantly, over the years, the band introduced me to other ska bands, who in turn exposed me to punk bands, and so on, and so on. Reel Big Fish was the band that sparked my interest in music. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that I must announce that Candy Coated Fury, the group's latest offering, well...sucks.

Despite releasing three albums, an EP and a live DVD over the past five years, Candy Coated Fury represents Reel Big Fish's first album of (almost) all original material since 2005's We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy. And boy, did something go wrong in those seven years. Perhaps the band spent so much time playing cover songs and re-recording "Beer" for the seventh time that they forgot how to write their own songs? Or maybe the departure of longtime member Scott Klopfenstein took a toll on the songwriting quality? Whatever the case may be, something here is incredibly lacking.

The album kicks off with "Everyone Else Is An Asshole," a song that illustrates just about every problem with the album. In typical Reel Big Fish manner, the song takes angry, cynical lyrics and places them over happy upbeat melodies, a formula the group has employed for years. But this time, the band got lazy. Older cynical songs such as "Don't Start A Band" or "Suckers" were at least somewhat clever or humorous in their lyrics; "Everyone Else" largely consists of the band repeating the name of the song. Over. And over. And over. Granted, Reel Big Fish have always been sophomoric in nature, but at least juvenile songs like "Your Guts (I Hate 'Em)" were quick and to the point. "Everyone Else" drags on for over four minutes and beats the listener over the head with uninspired, pointless rage.

And that just about sums up the entire album. Fifty-five minutes of songs about being angry and jaded for the sake of being angry and jaded. While some songs appear sloppier and lazier than others ("I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore" contains some especially cringe-worthy lines, especially coming from a bunch of guys in their upper '30s), the band never really employs their former angry-yet-clever oddball humor.

Musically, the band fails to throw any curveballs here. In fact, the songs all sound so similar that Candy Coated Fury loses steam quickly. Listening past the 10th track actually becomes more of a bothersome chore than an enjoyable experience. Furthermore, the few musical departures that do appear on the album are so buried amidst the band's mediocre, mid tempo ska tracks that they go largely unnoticed. But, hey, that may not be a bad thing, considering that "Hiding In My Headphones," a reggae track that sounds like Reel Big Fish badly imitating Sublime, may be the worst song Reel Big Fish have ever released (and that's saying something, seeing as the same band released an entire song devoted to saying the F-word).

On the flipside, Candy Coated Fury is not without redeeming qualities. "Don't Stop Skankin'" is a fun, mostly instrumental jam in the same vein as "241" from Turn The Radio Off and the last track on the album, assuming you actually manage to listen that far, features a slow tempo reggae version of When In Rome's "The Promise" that actually proves to be one of the band's most interesting covers to date. However, these two standout tracks can be easily looked over on an album of completely boring, second-rate material.

Look, I won't deny that Reel Big Fish have been on a downward spiral as of late. Their live shows are still enjoyable, but each album seems a little worse than the last. Monkeys For Nothin' and Chimps For Free wasn't as good as We're Not Happy. Fame, Fortune and Fornication was dreadful. A Best Of Us For The Rest Of Us contributed very little to the band's catalogue. But with Candy Coated Fury, the band has hit a new low. The album certainly won't be creating new fans for the band, and for that matter, I can barely even recommend this album to the most diehard Reel Big Fish fans. Blame it on the departure of Scott Klopfenstein, blame it on too much time spent recording covers instead of writing original songs or blame it on too many tours with Goldfinger and the Aquabats. It doesn't change the fact I, a radical Reel Big Fish fan who's probably biased towards the band, felt utterly disappointed by this album. I'm sorry, guys, but when the only decent songs on your new album are an instrumental track and a cover song, it may be time to hang up the horns and do something else.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
btmiasob (January 4, 2013)

Picked this album up last week, and with the first play through and especially the opening song I wasn't too impressed. But after a couple play throughs some tracks really grabbed my attention. Don't stop skanking has a totally different vibe from the rest of the album and I really like it they should make music like that more often. And I love sonic boom six so hidin in my headphones is a real treat. The promise caught me by surprise and I found myself playing that track everytime I got in the car. The rest of the songs re ok but I always skip everyone else is an asshole. Reel big fish's horns have always been too much for me so I've never been a huge fan and you can probably tell from my song choice but being that this was one of the few bands I liked in bestbuy I grabbed it. 3 1/2 stars

BobaFetish (December 1, 2012)

I'm not a big fan of random, anonymous comments online because nobody probably reads them anyway, and I don't think they accomplish much. That said, I can see both points of view on the new Reel Big Fish album.

I'm a big fan of the band, but I wasn't exactly blown away on the first run through Candy Coated Fury. However, it has grown on me, and I think from a band like RBF it's a pretty solid offering. They've never exactly plumbed the depths of human emotion, but you can't beat them for catchy, up-tempo, mindless fun ska-pop (YES I SAID SKA DEAL WITH IT!). There are a few really good songs (Don't Let Me Down Gently, and the already mentioned cover and instrumental tracks are definite standouts), a few decent songs with some admittedly cringe-worthy lines (I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore being the big contender here), and a couple of less impressive tunes that are still catchy enough to sing along to loudly in the car and have some fun with.

All in all, just enjoy it for what it is and don't expect it to be a groundbreaking moment in music, or even for RBF particularly. If they keep putting out this kind of material, I'll keep listening and singing along. This from a 25yo girl, not a 6th grade boy, thanks very much.

beach (October 2, 2012)

been a fan since the beginning.. i enjoyed the popin horns .. the bass lines are sic.. i enjoyed it turn it up

fattony (August 14, 2012)

Finally listened to it once. It wasn't the worst thing I've ever heard, but I have no desire to listen to it again.

MattATatTat (August 9, 2012)

Truth is that this band has continually lost solid members since their rise in the 90s. And the one thing I hear more often than not is that Aaron's ego and attitude is the main driving factor behind people leaving (Dan remains the only semi-foundational member...nothing but nice things I've heard about him) . We must accept that the RBF of the 90s is no more...from material to live performances...it's not what it used to be. They aren't Less Than Jake (who continue to evolve beyond what they were in 1996). But as far as song writing is concerned, the majority of original material written comes from Barrett...

I'm starting to see a patten and a possible answer to the problem. I seriously think it's time to call it a day.

Eggface (August 9, 2012)

Is it wrong that I like this? I'm in my mid thirties

Mrcips (August 9, 2012)

I see the error in my last post thank you

twstdbydsn (August 9, 2012)

I'm pretty sure this band was never good.

1776 (August 8, 2012)

Skibz -- take a look at the comments to the new Pennywise album if you really want to see PR at work.

Skibz777 (August 8, 2012)

Yes, MrCips, it certainly does grate.

MrCips (August 8, 2012)

i Honistly don't see whats wrong with this album I think iis a grate album

paulrulzdood (August 7, 2012)

i've found some saving graces in this overall not so good album after giving it two honest listens:

-hiding in my headphones is such a trainwreck in a good way that i like it. it's a neat experiment for RBF and one of the more interesting tracks on the album.

-their cover of "the promise" is quite enjoyable

-that instrumntal with a cover of "a message to you rudie/oh donna" at the end is cool

-tracks 1,3,4,8,10 are decent. so i'd say 8 of 14 songs are listenable. so this album isn't total crap. it's barely average. i'm being fair.

Paul

Skibz777 (August 7, 2012)

Holy crap, I just realized that four of the six comments in this thread that are angrily defending this album are from people who have never had any previous activity on this website.

Nwalker1989, crashed29, theonlyone, Zzthejimzz...all only one comment and nothing else.

I'd naturally want to be paranoid and claim this was RBF's PR trying to combat the inevitable negative reviews this album will receive, but since most of the comments just consist of "Dur, this review is wrong", it only reconfirms my dreaded belief that there really are people that bone-meltingly stupid on this planet.

My advice: find anyone who'd be willing to register an account on a website solely to provide a five-word rebuttal to a negative review of a Reel Big Fish album and forcibly sterilize them.

jacknife737 (August 7, 2012)

Somewhere, the Gimper is shedding a tear.

Nwalker1989 (August 7, 2012)

this review could not be more wrong.. sheesh

paulrulzdood (August 6, 2012)

most of what i have to say about this has already been said. but in summary:
-scott's harmonies are sorely missing. Aaron harmonizing with himself is not the same, those high-pitched harmonies from scott were as essential to their sound as the high pitch of the double trumpet attack
-the songs drag on too long and are too repetitive. they've never suffered from this before, but a producer would have been nice to have on hand to let Aaron know a 8th chorus repeat isn't necessary. some of the songs would be much better if they ended around the 3:00 mark.
-it is pretty dirivative/generic at this point, but it's their 7th full length and they openly admit in interviews that they want to sound like classic RBF and that they like carrying the torch for 90's 3rd wave ska-punk, so it's not surprising they're sticking to their old formula on much of these songs.
-album is too long, should have cut a couple songs and others should be shorter
-overall, still kind of enjoyable as a RBF fan since '97. i got an autographed copy for $9.50 on interpunk.com so...a handful of good songs is all i really expected anyway after the last couple albums, "monkeys for nothing" was not much better than this.

stevejonestherealbones (August 5, 2012)

i thought this was some good old fashion fun

- jones the bones

- stevejonesemailatyahoo.bing

likeaparasite (August 5, 2012)

Now that I've listened to this, I'm surprised that it wasn't as bad as the review lead me to believe it would be. It's not a travesty or a huge embarrassment or anything. It's just, for the most part, very derivative and old hat, making the band seem rather outdated and clearly past their prime.

It's not all bad, though. I think that "I Know You Too Well..." song is pretty fun. A nice duet that reminds me of some of their great past duets like "She Has A Girlfriend Now" and "Ask". "Don't Let Me Down Gently" is also solid. "I Dare You to Break My Heart" starts off well enough, but it's too damn long. They didn't need 5 minutes for that song.

thegimper (August 4, 2012)

This review couldn't be more wrong. It's easily the album of the year.

telegraphrocks (August 4, 2012)

First, and only listen, and I came to the conclusion that the instrumental was the best song.
As you pointed out, there is something wrong with that.

oldpunkerforever (August 4, 2012)

ugh, this was never, nor were these guys ever ska. Please dont ever say that. Terrible, thats what it is-oldpunker-

Thumbs (August 3, 2012)

"Definitely their best album since "We're Not Happy...""

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
So, basically, it's better than their last full-length? Seriously? That's your input?

FredDorfman76 (August 3, 2012)

RBF are one of my guilty pleasures but as much as I liked going to their shows, they are just not as good without Scott.

Skibz777 (August 3, 2012)

It genuinely makes me sad to see so many people blindly praising this album, not just because it's solid evidence that the standards of the American ska scene have fallen so low but that RBF is capable of so, so, so much better. We should be praising artists when they actually release something good, not just something that isn't "that horrible".

KungPowza (August 3, 2012)

Definitely their best album since "We're Not Happy..."

crashed29 (August 3, 2012)

This review is absolutely horrible. And who cares about your childhood and hiding your records from your overbearing parents.

I've been trough the album about 10 times now, and it is the BEST material they've had in the past decade. the bass lines are sick and the horns are well placed.

Thumbs (August 3, 2012)

I'm glad this got a pretty bad review. While some of the music is still good, the lyrics and all-around vibe of this record resembles that of a bunch of eleven-year-olds trying to sound like Reel Big Fish. Odd, that it actually is RBF.

thisrespirator (August 3, 2012)

This ain't Why Do They Rock So Hard? but it's not terrible. Sure it's generic as hell, but it's Reel Big Fish. It's certainly the best thing they've done in years.

theonlyone (August 3, 2012)

best album since we're not happy by far.

whynotquebec (August 3, 2012)

It was all about Matt Wong.

zzthejimzz (August 3, 2012)

Second rate material? You have poor taste in music I guess. The album is amazing, great sound and instrumentally sound. It's their best album since "Turn the Radio Off" without a doubt. Reel Big Fish's music isn't for everyone, but anytime I play them around people who have never heard them before, they love it and are instant fans.

fattony (August 3, 2012)

I've had almost the exact same trajectory with this band as the reviewer. They were my favorite band for a really long time, the first show that I went to (of my choosing anyway), and the band responsible for me making my way into punk and more "legitimate" ska bands. In short, they changed the course of my life.

But looking at the last decade of their career, they should have hung it up a long time ago, even before Scott left. I loved Cheer Up! when it first came out, but listening to it now, there's only a couple of songs worth remembering and the rest is mediocre if not outright bad. Same goes for We're Not Happy. Everything they've done since that has been pretty fucking awful and reeks of milking what's left of their fanbase - redundant DVD releases, re-recorded songs, covers, and a second greatest hits album (an especially unnecessary release after their double live album, which was actually a pretty great release).

Even their live show isn't what it used to be, and that's entirely due to Scott's absence. I saw them earlier this year, almost 12 years to the day after the first time I saw them at the exact same venue, and it was like I was seeing a completely different band. It was their final saving grace, that they were still great live, yet they've squandered that and are now just as guilty of phoning that in as they've been phoning in the rest of their career for years now.

I'll still pick this newest album up and probably any others they put out in the future, only to listen to them quietly with nobody else around, and with a sense of embarrassment. I know deep down that I'm done with this band - no more shows, shirts, DVDs, or anything else, except maybe copies of Turn The Radio Off and Why Do They Rock So Hard? should they ever get pressed on vinyl.

Wow, this is probably the longest comment I've ever left on a review for an album I haven't even listened to (yet). Thanks for the good times, RBF. It was fun. Please stop embarrassing yourselves.

myaimistruth (August 3, 2012)

Well written review. With years to write this album, I was really hoping for a little more effort from RBF. Should I have seen this coming when RBF only played one song off this album on their recent tour (Don't Stop Skankin')?

waffleIron (August 3, 2012)

I can't stand any of their material. I can't believe people call this shit ska. Stupid trustafarians.

EchosMyron (August 3, 2012)

*Bosstones

EchosMyron (August 3, 2012)

This band is an abomination, and the Bosstoned suck(ed?) almost just as much!

Skibz777 (August 3, 2012)

@likeaparasite
Seconded on the Bosstones comment to the nth degree. While I don't think their new material is *bad*, it's definitely dragged down by Lawrence Katz's completely lackluster and straightforward guitar work. If the 'Tones had a guitarist even half as creative/prominent as Nate Albert, they'd sound a heck of a lot better.

Of course, their fanatical following will blindly praise them for whatever they do, so they can't really rely on any fan criticism to help improve their sound, meaning even more albums of tepid generic ska in the future. Then again, RBF has attracted nothing but critical condemnation for the last few years and they're still terrible, so who knows?

uncle_leo (August 3, 2012)

Reel Big Fish will always be popular because there will always be people in 6th grade.

likeaparasite (August 3, 2012)

I have to stick up for "Another F.U. Song". As silly and obvious as it is, I still think it's one of the best songs on its album. Very funny and catchy. I don't know if I'd agree with this review since I haven't heard the album yet, but I respect how it's written. Rarely does a review with such a low rating for an album discuss its objections so politely and thoughtfully.

There should be more reviews like this, where people carefully explain why a weaker album is disappointing, instead of just insulting it. Way too many negative reviews are just obnoxious and way too many poor albums get a free pass and an automatic four stars based on who the band is.

The last two Mighty Mighty Bosstones albums should have got reviews like this. Maybe not as low as one star, but they made me feel similarly to how the reviewer of this album felt. It's sad when a band you love that opened you up to so many other bands puts out something mediocre. The last two M.M.B albums weren't as bad as this album sounds, but they were shockingly generic, and heartbreaking to me as someone who considers the stuff they did in their prime to be pretty much the greatest music ever.

eazyd2 (August 3, 2012)

that first paragraph is identical to my experience. rbf was my first gig, got me into other punk bands etc.

i stuck solid for a while but i haven't bothered with this band since scott left - he was definitely the most important member in this band

WhoIsJacklynn (August 3, 2012)

Coming from a pretty objective source, given that I like Reel Big Fish and I'm not a HUGE fan, I'd say this review is pretty accurate. I could only listen to about half of it before I had to stop. Even for this particular band, the lyrical content is terrible and the music has nothing different to bring to the table. The songs were barely distinguishable, aside from getting progressively worse. I would personally chalk this album up to being pure and utter tripe.

AlphaKennyBuddy (August 3, 2012)

Wow I now feel bad that my favorite RBF song is the one devoted to the f-work.

I always thought that he said f*** France instead of friends until yesterday.

Skibz777 (August 3, 2012)

"...or blame it on too many tours with Goldfinger and the Aquabats."

Wait a minute, what's that supposed to mean? Goldfinger I get because they've always been terrible, but what did The Aquabats do? They're faring way better than RBF nowadays in both their music and their career. Somehow I think RBF would be picking up some tips from The 'Bats.

Not to mention, I believe RBF and The Aquabats have only gone on one tour together in the last decade. Two, if you count a brief festival run in Australia.

Skibz777 (August 3, 2012)

Yeah, reviews are stupid when reviewers give reasons behind their opinions instead of basing them on blind faith and personal bias!

I'll give this album a listen eventually, it's unavoidable. But I'm really not expecting anything much. When does Scott start releasing stuff?

blanktapesemptybottles (August 3, 2012)

I've like every album they put out, the only weak one was the covers only album, we're not happy til you're not happy was an awesome departure in sound, not so sure why they try to stick with one sound on this, but it's not terrible at all, some of the lyrics are even really relevant in my life, I mean they're a band that's been around forever and still brings it live, and still puts out albums that aren't atrocious, can you really knock them that much?

ReelBigMike (August 3, 2012)

Well, that review was just incredibly stupid.

AlmostPunkEnough (August 3, 2012)

it's amazing; Reel Big Fish tries so hard to make happy music and yet all the accomplish is making me incredibly sad.

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