After making their fans wait four years, Reel Big Fish have finally released another album. The disc is titled Cheer Up!, which is a bit ironic considering that most of the songs on it are about jilted loves and low self esteem; but the music itself is quite happy and even a bit comedic and will most likely put a smile on your face.
As their discography progresses, the more the many dimensions of Reel Big Fish begin to show; they are not just a ska band. Their latest effort delves into many genres, and can simply not be labeled. There is of course that classic ska vibe throughout the album, but it has been reinvented and is a little different then before. There is also a great presence of rock influence and a lot more guitar this time around. We even get a little taste of salsa with the instrumental track “Sayonara Senorita“, and there is an acapella version of Frank Sinatra's “New York, New York“.
Listening to this album you may begin to think that Reel Big Fish are playing a joke on their listeners, because there is a very comedic aspect going on. But then you remember who you are listening to and realize that it wouldn't be Reel Big Fish if there wasn't comedy involved. This aspect that I speak of can be easily spotted on the track “Rock N' Roll is Bithcin“, which sounds like an 80's glam rock re-enactment of Spinal Tap.
The first single “Where Have You Been“, will hopefully generate some airplay for these guys. Although it completely lacks horns, it still rocks. Another favorite of mine is “Ban the Tube Top“, which is the bands commentary on an apparently hideous fashion. Their opinion is made clear with lyrics like “beautiful girl, ugly shirt“. I was also very fond of the tracks “Valerie“, which depicts hatred for that god-awful ex-girlfriend that all guys seem to dwell on; and the Sublime cover “Boss DJ“. Lead singer/guitarist Aaron Barrett makes a very successful attempt at sounded a bit like Bradley Nowell, which can be a very tricky chore.
Although this album doesn't quite reach the heights of greatness that Turn the Radio Off did, I would say that it is definitely worth buying. Almost all the songs on Cheer Up! rock, and I for one can't wait to see them performed live. Now go out and support Reel Big Fish and buy their cd!
shannon [at] unearthed [dot] com