Reel Big Fish

Fame, Fortune and Fornication

Written by: PP on 11/01/2009 14:56:39

If there's one band that truly excels at making other people's songs sound like they were written by them, it's Reel Big Fish. From "Another Day In Paradise" (Phil Collins) and "Story Of My Life" (Social Distortion) to "Take On Me" (A-Ha) and "Boss DJ" (Sublime), the Reel Big Fish cover songs are loved and cherished by their fanbase because they are always complete ska-punk remakes complete with vivid saxophone and trumpet departments and typical ska guitars, and this without the melody of the originals getting lost in the process. In many cases it's possible to argue that the Reel Big Fish covers are even better than the original songs! With that in mind, it was about time these guys pushed out an all-covers album: "Fame, Fortunate and Fornication".

So which songs get the Reel Big Fish treatment this time around? Theres a couple of Poison tracks, one each by Van Morrison, The Eagles, and Tom Petty among others, so there's clearly an 80s lean here which the artwork also suggests. "Mama We're All Crazy Now", "Nothin' But A Good Time" and "Authority Song" are the best renditions here, though the others aren't bad either. All tracks have been transformed to sound like "Cheer Up"-era Reel Big Fish with the occasional jokes thrown in between (weird vocal snares and the like) to the extent that it's interesting just to notice how the band have torn each original song into pieces, molded some of their own bits in the meantime, and re-constructed the song from scratch. However, the choice of songs could've been a bit better. While all being decent hits in their own time, no song here really sticks out the same way as the A-Ha or Phil Collins covers, you know in the way that "hey I've heard that song before, that isn't theirs, but that's awesome!". I don't think anyone would've minded some Abba songs on here for instance.

The easy way out here is just to recommend "Fame, Fortune and Fornication" to any Reel Big Fish fan. If you liked their cheerful, danceable ska-punk before, you'll also enjoy the covers here even if you may not know the originals. That being said, a better choice of songs would've elevated the grade by a notch or two.


Download: Mama We're All Crazy Now, Authority Song
For the fans of: Reel Big Fish, Ska-punk covers
Listen: "FFF" Myspace / RBF Myspace

Release date 20.01.2009
Rock Ridge Music

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