Cellphish - Suicide Kings (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Suicide Kings (2005)


Has anybody ever wondered just what No Use For A Name would sound like if they were to add a horn section? No, probably not, but either way, if you were to add a saxophonist and a trumpet player, you very well may conjure up the sounds on Suicide Kings by Cellphish. The quintet originally formed as a threesome, adding Ivan Ibarra and Rich Iwason on saxophone and trumpet, respectively, to round out their present sound. I have never heard any of their previous recordings, so I can't say whether this change was for the better or worse, but Suicide Kings has some decent potential to be a fun summer record.

"That Magic" starts out with a quick sound byte, as many of the tracks on here do, before getting down to actual music. It's not a real hindrance, as the bytes are pretty comical, albeit silly comedy. "Last Time" leads things off in a pretty upbeat manner, although the end of the song is far too repetitious for my tastes, with the constant singing of "This is the last time!" before the song is carried to its end by some underlying horn work. "Wallz," dumb song name aside, showcases some quick splashes of sped-up guitar that sound like a machine gun barrage, yet the song again is pulled down by an overly repetitious chorus. Coincidentally enough, "Party Song" is probably the most rousing, and most fun song on the entire album with its chorus of "Get it all out of my mind, hang out with bros and forget my woes / Drank too many beers, and now there's a ringing in my ears." Simple, but still a ton of fun to tap your foot and sing along to.

Ska-punk has never been a genre known for its complex songwriting, but instead its infectious horn melodies, goofy lyrics, and singalong harmonies, and I can't deny that Cellphish have attained a solid level of success if that was their aim. Simple doesn't mean shitty, and the band's cohesion allows for some choruses that are really a lot of fun, and some horn inclusions that add a bit of variety to the mix of things. A lot of these songs have great potential to be anthems to a fun night drinking with your friends in your boring, barely-on-the-map town. "Children Of ‘The Darkness'" stands as the band's attempt at hair metal, with high-pitched yelps among the metal riffs. It's a funny song for all intents and purposes, but it disrupts what was otherwise a solid flow thus far.

This album will be a good dose of fun for those among us who love ska-punk, but aside from the built in contingent of people who'd listen just on the basis of what it is, the disc does little to attract new listeners, or bring other elements to the table in what is quickly growing to be a tired genre. The execution here is solid, and the added horn section gives this some gusto, but it's still a bit repetitious for my tastes. Try it out, but it's certainly no royal flush.