The Aquabats - The Fury Of... (Cover Artwork)

The Aquabats

The Fury Of... (1997)


Ah, 1997. If 1991 was the year the "punk broke" then '97 was the year the "ska-pop" broke. Reel Big Fish, Sublime, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and No Doubt all scored major hits, and bands like Save Ferris, The Mad Caddies and the Dance Hall Crashers all saw their fan base surge. Caught in this ska upsurge, were ska's answer to Devo, The Aquabats!

With four albums to their credit, this is the only one that truly captures this band in their prime. They stick mainly to ska and new wave, without getting stuck in the bizarre theatrics and failed humor of later works. There is just not a bad song on this disc. Perhaps part of the reason was that they had not yet lost their most talented member, drummer the Baron Von Tito, better known to millions of teeny-boppers as Travis Barker from Blink-182. Barker provided a solid back-beat for the Aquabats, while The Bat Commander rambled about chicken, pirates and mutant cats. Awesome.

The album kicks off with "Super Rad", a delirously happy ska-pop song about being the superhereo's that they are. Thats sort of the theme here. Each song is an adventure, with a few exceptions like "Red Sweater" and "Idiot Box". "The Cat With Two Heads" is about a science experiment gone horribly wrong, "Attacked by Snakes" is about, well, being attacked by snakes, and so on. The best songs on the album are easily the centerpiece "Captain Hampton and the Midget Pirates" and the hidden track, a re-recorded version of "Playdough". The former seems to prophesize the Mad Caddies "Pirate-core" stylings, while the latter is the quintessential Aquabats tune, about growing up and missing all the cool things you did when you were a child.

Musically, this is a top-notch ska-pop album. Solid guitar work, stellar drums, humorous vocals and really catchy horn parts all combine to make this a great listening experience. Even the artwork is great, picturing all the "enemies" of the Aquabats, including the cat with two heads, various monsters such as Powdered Milk Man and Space Monster M, and even other bands like the Sandfleas ( a great band by the way). I would highly recommend you check out this release before anything else by the band. A great album, a high-point of 3rd wave ska-pop.