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Flying Ship of Fantasy

Long Beach Shortbus

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Album Review

Flying Ship of Fantasy is the debut LP from Long Beach Shortbus, a band whose roots go back to the Long Beach Dub Allstars. (Three members from that defunct unit founded the Shortbus.) More than that, bassist Eric Wilson was one-third of hallowed Long Beach reggae/ska punks Sublime. On this album Long Beach Shortbus stay true to their SoCal garage-ska heritage, but the group also infuses the music with a shot of driving psychedelia and some overtly lovey-dovey (sometimes toothless) hippie lyrical fare. All of this means that Long Beach Shortbus aren't as immediately catchy and engaging as the late, lamented groups that spawned them. When it works, as it does on "Everyone Is Beautiful" — which nicely laces rock guitar licks into classic ska bounce — the result is highly appealing. But the title track, which features such blissed-out lyrical strands as "Embrace in one another and love will lead the dance" (and a keening passage about dandelions), tips its hand heavily toward schmaltz. This tune, as well as a few others, seem aimed at becoming ambient background music on the latest hip, young TV series. (Long Beach Dub Allstars' "Sunny Hours," in a similar vein, became the theme song to NBC's Joey, and the Shortbus often seem like they're swinging for the fence for more of that TV gravy.) But it's on the upbeat, more driving tunes that this album succeeds. "Slim's Song (Lonely at the Top)" bangs along at a catchy ska romp worthy of Sublime, but the group's occasional forays into SoCal hardcore ("Slow Down" and "Odd Walking Man") seem gratingly out of place — perhaps there to serve penance for (or to clear the palate from) the sappy ballads. This is an uneven effort: marvelous in places, saccharine in others, and misguided at points. It also feels like the 18 tracks could have been edited back to fewer songs that work together as a cohesive whole. Nevertheless, hats off to the group's interesting, eclectic, and fairly well-executed choice of covers: the Rolling Stones' reggae-dabbling "Luxury," Frank Zappa's "How Could I Be Such a Fool," and Ween's "Mutilated Lips."

Customer Reviews

You've got to get this one!

Long Beach Shortbus is one of the best live acts you will ever see. They blend the styles of the local long beach scene with today’s issues and concerns. You can feel a slight blast to the past with Eric Wilson’s bass lines and the unmistakable vocals of Ras1. The foursome is well rounded out with the addition of Damon on drums and Trey and guitar. If you love the dub-punk-rock style of Sublime, than this album is a must. Get yours today!!

Greatest Cd I have ever bought

I didn't know anything about this group until I happened to have heard a song from an earlier album of Long Beach Shortbus on a friends myspace page and I liked it alot so I checked them out on here and liked a couple songs from the short preview, so I decided to purchase the album and I can homestly say my life wouldnt be complete if I had never heard or owned this cd. This is one of the greatest cd's and groups I have ever heard.

Sublime Lives On In LBSB

I dont know about you guys but every time I listen to this cd it gets better. Long Beach Shortbus is more like sublime than Long Beach Dub All Stars. Get this cd its really good from beginning to end. Peace Krs-3

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Long Beach Shortbus splintered from the popular Southern California band Long Beach Dub Allstars in 2002 after infighting amongst the members caused a premature dissolution. "What basically happened with the Long Beach Dub Allstars was there were too many cooks in the kitchen," Shortbus manager Capri Kanwal explained. "So you'd have the band touring around in two different buses, because there were two different camps. We're the band from one of the buses. We got along," he said of Shortbus, which...
Full Bio