Fishbone are one of the best bands ever. On record, they sound unique and comprised of genius, but live… oh man they are incredible. Labeled as one of the best live acts in existence, their music is just prime for the stage and even on recordings; you cannot help but feel the urge to move your body in some way.
After releasing two well-received singles, the band made this self-titled ep in 1985, their debut. Fishbone are known for their Ska and Funk sound mixed with Alternative and Soul. For the Ska aficionado, this is the place to get that fix. Six songs (seven on the 2014 re-release) full of pure energy and Funky New-Wave grooves all processed through a Ska lens. It is a mixing pot for sure, but a hearty one.
Angelo Moore (Saxophone and vocals), Walter A. Kibby II (Trumpet and vocals), Kendall Jones (guitars and vocals), Chris Dowd (Keyboards, Trombone and vocals), and the Fisher brothers, John Norwood Fisher (Bass and vocals) and Philip "Fish" Fisher (drums) are the tightest band ever it seems, at least on this record. Each member is on point and the cohesion as a unit displayed by their extreme musicianship and sound made everyone at the time, and still currently, look very lazy.
There is not one single dud of a track on this ep. Each song is a highlight and that is perhaps to the artistic dedication to the ep itself. You get at least half an album’s worth of material to make, so you had better be sure it is solid. My gosh, listen to these songs! I cannot help but want to jump and dance around the house whenever “Party at Ground Zero” comes on. That song is almost too good and sets a high bar that few Ska songs have topped.
You can praise each song the same at Ground Zero and that is fine because you will want to love them all. “Ugly” is the opener that sets the “party” by first being a bit weird with off the wall vocals and horn wails that sound like a Tom Waits track circa Rain Dogs, but then erupting with those skank beats and a running groove that just never stops. There is an energy here and this track could help you while running around the block trying to loose fluff pounds.
“Another Generation” has a nice use of synths near the end with catchy bass and guitars sounding a bit like a throwback 1950’s instrumental, which is awesome. “Modern Industry” is a song that is very reminiscent sounding of “Mirror in the Bathroom” by The English Beat. The quiet drumming and bass groove is there and I consider it a good tribute.
I already mentioned how great Ground Zero sounds, but just to mention it one more time, the guitar work is stellar and the band isn’t afraid to mix in the odd Metal riff here and there. This song has always been a fan favorite and that is no joke.
Fishbone take themselves seriously on more social conscious songs on later albums, but with a track like “V.T.T.L.O.T.F.D.G.F.", which according to band stands for "Voyage to the Land of the Freeze-Dried Godzilla Farts", they definitely know how to make a joke track. Moreover, with a premise such as the government attempting to convince the public that, Hiroshima was actually caused by Godzilla farting, you know they are trying to not laugh and make fart sounds with the brass.
Oh, and then you have “Lyin’ A** B*tch” accompanied by guest singer Lisa Grant which should cause a ruckus and a good time all at once coming from your speakers. Ah, and if you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a funny scene from Jimmy Fallon where house band The Roots do a quick cover to introduce Michele Bachmann onto the stage back during the 2012 election. The results from that were laughs and very upset people heh heh.
As I mentioned above, if you happened to get the Record Store Day 2014 re-release they graciously added another Fishbone classic staple, “Skankin’ to the Beat” as the end track. Great way to close things out I’d say.
Ok Rudy, you get the point now so you cannot fail!
Get in on this and tell your friends to listen to more Fishbone.
The band I mean…