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Fame, Fortune and Fornication

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Album Review

Reel Big Fish originally formed as a cover band, playing hyperactive renditions of metal anthems and Top 40 material before discovering ska music in the mid-'90s. Although the group released several covers throughout the subsequent decade (most notably a brassy remake of A-ha's "Take on Me," which appeared on the BASEketball soundtrack), Fame, Fortune and Fornication marks Reel Big Fish's first covers-only album, featuring ten songs in less than 30 minutes. The band speeds through material by the likes of Tom Petty, Slade, and the Eagles, giving each song the standard ska remake treatment of horns, upstroke guitar, and tongue-in-cheek vocals. Poison is the only band to receive two covers, one of which — a co-ed version of "Talk Dirty to Me" featuring British accents — is perhaps the highlight of the disc. Other standouts include a version of Toots & the Maytals' "Monkey Man," an unpredictable choice that shows appreciation for RBF's predecessors. The bulk of this record is fairly humdrum, however, delivering on the typical promise of most ska cover albums (e.g. fast, humorous covers of songs that are neither fast nor humorous) but offering few surprises.

Biography

Formed: Huntington Beach, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Reel Big Fish were one of the legions of Southern California ska-punk bands to edge into the mainstream following the mid-'90s success of No Doubt and Sublime. Like most of their peers, they were distinguished by their hyperkinetic stage shows, juvenile humor, ironic covers of new wave pop songs, and metallic shards of ska. The group cultivated an underground following that broke into the mainstream in summer 1997, when the single "Sell Out" became a modern rock radio and MTV favorite. Reel Big Fish's...
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Fame, Fortune and Fornication, Reel Big Fish
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