Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to surf or own a Jeep to listen to ska, unfortunately for the health fanatics you do need to occasionally smoke a bit of ganja (just kidding…not really). Some like to say ska died when Sublime changed their group members, others like to say it never should have lived in the first place. Both of those previous statements are proved false by Reel Big Fish’s latest album, Candy Coated Fury. Combining elements of rock, hip-hop, reggae and punk the genre generally produces wildly upbeat songs that are best listened while driving to or at the beach, which makes sense with the band originating in Huntington Beach, California. The group that began over 20 years has changed members and roles numerous times, but the soul has remained the same: fun, catchy music that doesn’t get radio play, but should.
As per usual with ska bands the subject matter focuses around all kinds of crazy relationships with even crazier girls. You know, the kind of girl that “kills your dreams” and “breaks your spirit,” yeah that kind of girl is mentioned about 15 times over the course of the album. “PS I Hate You” may be the funniest track on an album that also includes the lovely and accurately titled “Everyone Else is an Asshole;” an open letter of sorts about how everyone, and maybe even the singer is, well, an asshole. Songs like “Don’t Let Me Down Gently” give a humorous answer to depressing songs about a lost love. The band doesn’t take themselves too seriously and it shows, the songs are loose and fun, which seems obvious when the tracklist includes “Don’t be Skankin.” The point of Candy Coated Fury and really ska in general is about not taking life too seriously. In a world that is full of turmoil, albums like this are needed to simply take a few minutes or hours off from life.