Volume 93, Issue 100
Thursday, April 6, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Fishbone's Family one to watch
The Family Nextperience Presents The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx
Ska/funk/metal band Fishbone have developed a loyal following and a reputation as one of the best live acts around.
So far, however, the band has been unable to achieve real commercial success, apart from one minor hit single (a scorching rendition of the Curtis Mayfield standard "Freddie's Dead"), cementing their status as one of the most respected and best kept secrets in the business.
With Fishbone's new album, The Family Nextperience Presents The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx, it appears as though the group has made a conscious effort to change their status from cult heroes to superstars.
In the past, Fishbone has had a tendency to clutter their releases with meandering 10 minute jams which started well, but eventually became tiring. On this CD, their songs are much trimmer, which allows the strength of the band's instrumentation and songwriting to be displayed more effectively.
Apparently, Fishbone has also decided that what worked for Santana on his latest release will work for them as well, so the album features many guest performers. Thankfully, the band didn't take the overtly commercial route of working with currently hot, but lightweight rappers and musicians.
Instead, some of the esoteric guests include three quarters of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Perry Farrell and ex-teen heartthrob/morning talk show host Donnie Osmond.
The one misstep on the album is the track "AIDS & Armageddon," an attempt at a "message" song which comes off sounding insipid rather than inspirational. Thankfully, this song is followed by "Dear God," a dark, chilling number with a rumbling bass portion featuring singer Angelo Moore pleading for his life to regain order.
Unquestionably, the best song on the album is "Everybody Is A Star," a cover of the Sly Stone classic which features George Clinton and Gwen Stefani of No Doubt as well as funk superstar Rick James on vocals. It's a fantastic version that switches from smooth soul into a thrashing, full tilt stomp, halfway through.
This transition is just one of many wonderful moments on The Family Nextperience Presents an excellent album that should garner Fishbone the recognition they deserve.
Aaron St. John
Stand In Traffic
With the desire to transcend their native San Francisco music scene, the former members of Skip Holiday have relocated to New York City. The group now boasts the name Magnified, a new record label and the debut album Stand In Traffic a 12 track collection which moves between heavy alt-rock and melancholic ballads.
Beat-heavy, melodic tracks such as "Stand In Traffic," "Mi Amigo" and "Is She Really Going Out With Him" contrast the more mellow offerings. Ballads such as "Valentine" and "So Strange" feature moody, reflexive lyrics and soaring choruses which comment on destructive tendencies and lost chances.
With the help of veteran mixers Philip Steir (Bush, Live) and Tim Palmer (Pearl Jam, The Cure), guitar distortion and electro-programming keep these otherwise '80s-inspired tracks up to speed with the new millennium.
The only drawback to Stand In Traffic is it's lack of inventiveness. Most tracks have a striking resemblance to songs by the Foo Fighters and Local H.
However, despite this lack of distinction, the sharp guitar riffs and upbeat melodies resound with enough aggression to leave the dancing boy bands in the dust and still appeal to a wide audience.
Overall, a good album, especially if you're not expecting to hear anything you haven't already heard before.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000