Long Beach Shortbus - Flying Ship of Fantasy (Cover Artwork)

Long Beach Shortbus

Long Beach Shortbus: Flying Ship of FantasyFlying Ship of Fantasy (2005)
Long Beach

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: GlassPipeMurderGlassPipeMurder
(others by this writer | submit your own)

A lot of things happened after Sublime's break-up following the death of frontman Brad Nowell, so here's the Cliff's Notes for the uninformed: First, the extended family of Sublime coalesced to form the Long Beach Dub Allstars, who broke up after two releases due to "too many people and too many ego.
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A lot of things happened after Sublime's break-up following the death of frontman Brad Nowell, so here's the Cliff's Notes for the uninformed: First, the extended family of Sublime coalesced to form the Long Beach Dub Allstars, who broke up after two releases due to "too many people and too many egos." Keyboardist Jack Maness, vocalist Opie Ortiz, and DJ/part-time drummer Marshall Goodman teamed up with members of ska band Hepcat to form Dubcat. Meanwhile, drummer Bud Gaugh and guitarist/manager Miguel Happoldt formed Volcano with Jon Poutney of the Ziggens and Meat Puppets frontman Curt Kirkwood. What was left of the Sublime family formed Long Beach Shortbus: Eric Wilson on bass, LBDA singer RAS-1 singing, part-time Sublime drummer Kelly Vargas, and Trey Pangborn, former member of influential skatepunk band Falling Idols that also included Dave Quakenbush who would go on to the Vandals and Randy Bradbury who would go on to Pennywise.

Like Sublime, Long Beach Shortbus draws on an immense set of influences and skips handily between genres from song to song, covering everything from reggae and punk rock to garage, hip-hop, and acoustic. Unlike Sublime, however, LBSB incorporates a heavier influence of rock, experimentation, and, with two guitars, a much deeper sound than the reggae-dub of Sublime. From a band whose live show includes covers from as diverse a selection as the Flaming Lips, Bad Brains, Devo, Minor Threat, Ween, and Descendents, it should come as no surprise that Flying Ship of Fantasy is rich in variety and interspersed with covers.

After a punky rock instrumental intro, LBSB launches into the anti-rockstar anthem "Slim's Song," a funky reggae number that tells the story of a bandmate-turned-rival: "In the end of an age and a star turned stardust / Lined with ashes of dreams and bloody music sheets / The fame killed our friend / We tried again but the chance was slim / A victim of the music industries' beast within." The reggae-rock continues with "Everyone Is Beautiful," which tells off society's obsession with external appearances and builds to a wonderful near-gospel climax with group singing and soaring guitar leads. "California Grace" is the album's "hit," a sunny pop-rock song that gives a nod to LBDA's "Sunny Hours," which was also written by RAS-1.

The band's punk rock prowess is hardly a surprise (you will rarely find bassist Eric Wilson without an Avail shirt or Minor Threat and Black Flag patches), but RAS-1's surrealist lyrics give the punk songs on Flying Ship of Fantasy a brooding quality that make them memorable. "How Could I Be Such a Fool" is essentially a punked out Frank Zappa cover, but the frantic "Slow Down" shows the divergent lyrical theme: "I spilled my gut but I bit my tongue / Bent my mind with a blackened lung / Stuck inside myself with nowhere to run / I've got to face the truth / Carefree times have left with youth / They blew a kiss and rode into the sun." "Odd Walking Man" was featured on the Comedy Central movie "Porn ??n Chicken," and the frenzied music is capped off by impressive double-bass pounding by the band's new drummer Damian Ramirez.

Other superb rock-influenced reggae tunes include the bouncy reggae/punk "Trust," "Stray with Me," a cover of the Stones' "Luxury," the gorgeous "Silver Lining" and "Better than This," which tells of struggling through drug addiction: "I'd do anything to get a little rest / I think a nightmare would be better than this."

Shortbus' take on hard rock complements the album's diverse arrangement, even for someone who doesn't normally care for the style. Guitarist Trey Pangborn shines on "You're Not Alone" and the album's title track "Flying Ship of Fantasy," which is enhanced by some of RAS-1's most imaginative writing: "Lord sits laughing, asking us to have as what we know / Unclothed before the sun sets throne with nothing left to show / Dripping down from milky clouds, tranquil waters flow / Leaving us the room we need to board our ship and go." The only song that doesn't seem to work very well is the band's cover of Ween's "Mutilated Lips," which is pretty hard to listen to under the layers of instrumentation. The album closes with the catchy garage punk of "Three Days and a Night," which features some wonderful talking interludes and a climax that ends the album on its high point with RAS-1 singing, "Every man you will meet / From the bum in the White House to the king on the street / Has a heart that can't be broken / And a mind that can't be changed."

Flying Ship of Fantasy is a diverse, well-orchestrated, and impressive first full-length from Long Beach Shortbus. Don't expect to hear Sublime version 2.0 in Long Beach Shortbus. What you will hear are new sounds, new styles, and a new approach to songwriting. Flying Ship of Fantasy is a stirring effort, and if the band ever stops touring the world long enough to record a followup, it will be interesting to see where the band takes their expansive sound.


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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.
GlassPipeMurder (June 25, 2007)

holy shit i just realized "Trust" is a 7 Seconds song after putting on the live 7 Seconds LP...totally never knew that.

rkl (June 20, 2007)

Posted by danperrone on 2007-06-19 11:05:05
My Score:

sublime's self-titled album is one of the best albums of all time

imo, the S/T was their worst work.

elephantdwarf (June 20, 2007)

"honestly, you can hate the culture and their fans and whatnot, but the music they made was seriously mindblowing"

this statement is ridiculous. i'm gonna argue that the fans, culture, and their music all fucking suck. thinking their music is 'seriously mindblowing' is your own opinion and to say that everyone should think that about it is ridiculous. there was absolutely nothing "mindblowing" about sublime.

Special_Ed (June 19, 2007)

RE: Aggrolites...

Rumor has it that Shortbus will be playing with the Aggrolites - twice - coming soon :)

I personally liked the album. Not so much because it was anything like the LBDAS or Sublime stuff (which is completely different, if you ask me) or because I do their website - but I like it because its real and I can not only hear it with my ears but feel it in my heart and soul - if that makes sense.

Their message is overall positive, which is rare anymore, and if everyone in the world took the time to listen to the messages, they too might be just a little kinder to those on the streets or maybe slow down enough to spend time with friends and family.

Not going to point out the "instances" or "points" cuz either you like it or your dont - however, if you want to listen to the whole CD for yourself - FREE - go to www.Shabunk.com/artists/longbeachshortbus and check it out (no, its not spam - just letting you guys hear what you are reading about for free).

Anyway - my two cents. Later

Enemy_Will (June 19, 2007)

"honestly, you can hate the culture and their fans and whatnot, but the music they made was seriously mindblowing"

I'd like to echo that sentiment.

GlassPipeMurder (June 19, 2007)

The Curb was the official Skunk message boards...there was a guy who signed off as Paul and whose banter was very similar to yours, so I thought maybe it was you.
Anyways I agree the rock songs are the worst...still good songs musically. And "Stray WIth Me" is better on the EP...good love song in my opinion.

Anonymous (June 19, 2007)

Nope, not sure what the Curb forums are...I post on here alot and have for about 5 years under various screenames, but I lost my last one and stopped caring so I just sign my name to my anoymous posts.

I used 'annoying' way too much in my assessment of this album, its not nearly as 'annoying' as I make it out to be...it's not even a bad album, I just think it lacks that special something that LBDA and Sublime both had. Part of it is energy and charisma (and in the case of brad, a LOT of energy and charisma) and part of it is their over indulgence in their new 'psychedelic rock' sound and straying from their reggae/ska roots.

Anyone reviewing the new aggrolites? It's pretty good.

Hepcat needs to put a new album out for gods sake


GlassPipeMurder (June 19, 2007)

did you used to post on the Curb forums??

SumWon (June 19, 2007)

This album follows the path 40 oz. to Freedom blazed -about 20 songs with covers from disperate genres throw in. Unfortunately though, they dont have enough good songs to make the long journey worth traveling. If there were only 12 or so songs, like a normal album, it might be worth listening to every once in awhile. However, they were going for an experience, not just an album -and that's it's downfall.

notfeelingcreative (June 19, 2007)

"honestly, you can hate the culture and their fans and whatnot, but the music they made was seriously, mindblowing"

Yeah, I love the fact that 90% of the people who hate sublime, shortbus, and lbda hate them because their fans are a bunch of meatheads. Especially funny conisering the fact that when Bradley was living the band wasn't trying to appeal to that crowd, most of those kids were listening to Pearl Jam and Metaliica when sublime were actually making music.

notfeelingcreative (June 19, 2007)

Decent record, their live show is alot of fun, though.

danperrone (June 19, 2007)

sublime's self-titled album is one of the best albums of all time

honestly, you can hate the culture and their fans and whatnot, but the music they made was seriously mindblowing

Anonymous (June 19, 2007)

I love Sublime and LBDA, but Shortbus just doesn't do it for me. The hippy/trippy 60's style noodleing kind of annoys me and the lyrics seem pretty subpar for most of the album. There are some solid songs, but overall the album kind of meanders to much, lacks any punch or real catchy songs (LBDA and Sublime had both), the "punk" sounding songs are annoying, etc. I like a couple songs on there, other than the lyrics, 'everything is beautiful' is great, the last song is good, the Stones cover is solid, and 'silver lining' is good. There's some other good one's too, but songs like 'stray with me' and 'flying ship of fantasy' are just annoying, like pink floyd gone SoCal surfer ska-reggae. If that sounds like a bad mix to you, trust me, it is. I don't get their whole new found infatuation with that psychedelic rock sound, but whatever floats their boat. I preferred when they stuck to what they know: ska/reggae/hip hop ala sublime.

and for the record, LBDA are pretty much as good as sublime. Listen to "rolled up", "listen to DJ's", "rosarito" and "trailer Ras" and tell me those songs don't stand up to everything Brad did this side of "badfish".


Anonymous (June 19, 2007)

I like to bro out and play Wii to this...naked...with my bros.

AphasiacIIC (June 19, 2007)

by the way, to others, dont write this off because its sublime related. i fucking HATE sublime, and i love this band. just give it a shot, if you dont like it, then bash it

AphasiacIIC (June 19, 2007)

for some reason i like this better than sublime and the dub all stars. great album. i LOVE california grace and slim's song

elephantdwarf (June 19, 2007)

score is for anything related to sublime

Rastid (June 19, 2007)

disagree very strongly with this review--thought this album was barely listenable. except california grace--that is a great song.

and this comes from a guy who loved both sublime and LBDAS.

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