Turn the Radio Off
"I'll never be a rock and roll star," Reel Big Fish's Aaron Barrett sweetly sings out in frustration at his band's inability to reach pin-up proportions on "I'll Never Be." Ah, but that song was written long before the group decided to "Sell Out," and promptly garner the attention Barrett so craved. Their timing was impeccable, for ska was then terminally "Trendy," and the Big Fish were ready to be reeled into the big time. So Turn the Radio Off, because their songs sound better coming out of the stereo minus the annoying DJ and ads that interrupt the party. This is the band's first album for Mojo, but some fans will already be familiar with many of the songs within, as nearly half the set features tracks from their self- released debut Everything Sucks. However, they've all been fabulously re-cut (as newcomers would discover for themselves once Mojo reissued Sucks in 2000). The group's lineup underwent numerous changes in between the two recordings, but Fish's sarky and snarky attitude remained the same, as such new songs as "Sell Out" and the hilarious "She Has a Girlfriend Now" well prove. That latter number boasts Save Ferris' Monique Powell on vocals, and she's just one of a bevy of guest stars found within. "Girlfriend" is ska at its most irresistible, and equally good are the re-recorded "Trendy," "Beer" and "Join the Club," alongside a slew of new numbers including the instrumental "241," the brass meets ska-core "All I Want Is More," and the storming "Nothin'." The Fish are now swimming in a much bigger pond, but they've grown to shark-like proportions along the way, and this sleek set of infectious songs, flashy arrangements, finely honed playing, and huge sound courtesy of the excellent production, is proof positive that the Fish are minnows no longer.