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Give a Monkey a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe

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After The Reality of My Surroundings, which crammed in divergent ideas and articulated them with expertise and imagination, the only thing Fishbone could do to infuriate and confuse its adoring audience was to make heavy metal music. So that’s what it did. Just when the public had finally accepted all of Fishbone's wild contradictions, the band threw them something they wouldn’t be able to handle. At the time, many fans felt like the band had taken a wrong turn, but in retrospect Give a Monkey a Brain . . . has more to offer than originally thought. “Unyielding Conditioning” is one of Fishbone's most soulful and impassioned ska renditions, while “The Warmth of Your Breath” reconfirms its hardcore chops. There's even something enjoyable about the free jazz–metal–blues melding of “Drunk Skitzo,” as difficult as it seems. In the end, the album’s metal components were most prescient. “Swim” and “Servitude” predicted the metal revival of the late ‘90s in the same way In Your Face predicted the ska revival that would sweep the industry in the years following this release.

Customer Reviews


...and very hard to get into. For me, it took having the album for six months for me to realize how truly great the album really is. Swim didnt make sense to me at first; it seemed completely at odds with even the heavier songs on the album. Its taken me awhile, but I can appreciate this song for what it is: a heavy metal party song, and I love every minute of it. I really liked servitude from the first time that I heeard it. It has a great messeage and a great riff. Black Flowers is very dynamic. It starts fairly quiet, bursts into some great riffing, becomes all dramatic and cool, and explodes with some intense singing by C.Dowd. Unyielding Conditioning is a great song that I liked after hearing it once. Probably one of their best songs on the cd. Properties of Propaganda was a hard song for me to get into because of how impenetrable the production is. Its hard to tell whats what, and the bass is completely buried half the time. I really like to attitude in the song, though, and Walts singing is perfect for the song. Warmth of Your Breath is a really strange song, but I find it stuck in my head all the time. Lemon Meringue is special not just because of how great of a song it is, but also because Billy "Bass" Nelson (of Funkadelic) helped with the backing vocals and (I think) the arrangement. Funky as all hell. They All Have Abandoned Their Hopes is a very ominous song. Its a reggae song, but it has this wierd vibe that puts tension into it. Its very effective, and one of my favorites. End the Reign is a heavy song with a great riff (as all of them seem to be). Drunk Skitzo is somewhat of a novelty, but the feelings of confusion and insanity are palpable throughout. Its a fun song. No Fear is amazing. Great intrumentation, great melodies, great lyrics, greatness. Nutt Megalomaniac is as funky as Lemon, but much more raw. My only complaint is that they didnt come up with some sort of dirtyyy horn riff to launch the song into the stratosphere. A great album, that I have really grown to respect and appreciate over time.

Its just some dang good music meng

Fishbone really breaks their own style with this one, and the result is an amazing album. Black Flowers sounds absolutely nothing like most of their other songs. I didn't even realize it was them till i got this album (i heard it beforehand). just a great album. well worth the money.

Fishbone's best

The first time i heard the opening guitar riff of "Servitude" i was blown away. This album just has a different feel from the rest of Fishbone's work and each song is a classic. Dont get me wrong, i love the old stuff, but this album will always be my favorite.


Formed: 1979 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Combining equal parts of deep funk, high-energy punk, and frantic ska, the Los Angeles-based Fishbone was one of the most distinctive and eclectic alternative rock bands of the late '80s. With their hyperactive, self-conscious diversity, goofy sense of humor, and sharp social commentary, the group gained a sizable cult following during the late '80s, yet they were never able to earn a mainstream audience. Led by vocalist/saxophonist Angelo Moore, the band formed in 1979 while the members were still...
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