Reel Big Fish are back with Candy Coated Fury, their first album of new material since 2007. The ska stalwarts have endured line-up changes and label troubles to produce one of their most inspired collection of songs. Aaron Barrett’s songwriting teeth are as sharp as ever and the musicianship feels fresh for a genre that can be limiting.
Stand out tracks include the opener “Eveyone Else is An Asshole,” which fits perfect in the RBF catalog, “She’s Not The End of The World,” another classic break-up song, and “Lost Cause” featuring a shredded solo. The band also lays down heavy grooves on slower songs like “Hiding in My Headphones,” “Famous Last Words” and a sweet cover of “The Promise.” Fury’s biggest strength is it’s ability to capture the band’s energy. Ryland Steen’s snare is worth a listen alone and the addition of Matt Appleton’s saxophone fills out their sound.
Candy Coated Fury is a fun, funny, and fantastic album; in other words, classic Reel Big Fish. For a while, I was out on ska. I felt I had heard it all and the appeal of humorous, self-depreciating lyrics with bright horns was lost. But then I saw the band on the Summer of Ska Tour for a nostalgia kick and I was back on the bus.
Reel Big Fish are a band that will always hold a place in my heart. Their blend of SoCal ska-punk got me into music back when I was in seventh grade. The memories are great to look back on, but Candy Coated Fury proves that the band is still going strong, not content to rest on their past success, and looking towards the future.