Reel Big Fish - Fame, Fortune and Fornication
Record Label: Rock Ridge Music
Release Date: January 20, 2009
When it comes to be Aaron Barrett's birthday (coincidentally, the same day as mine... *a-hem*), I think we all know what he'll want most: either a new batch of records to find songs in need of a ska-metal tuneup or "Sebastian Bach's Guide to Wearing Hot Pants." Either way, it will be money well-spent, seeing that Reel Big Fish is making the most out of their notorious admiration for hair metal and covers.
Alright, alright -- we all know the band's history already, because it's likely that only fans will be giving this 10-song collection of covers, handsomely titled Fame, Fortune and Fornication, a real listen. Starting out as a cover band much like they represent here, Barrett & company have made some classic songs into fan favorites over the years (oftentimes including at least one cover of a song on an album), and despite the undesirably-short running time, there will undoubtedly be a few selections here for future Warped Tour runs.
However, with only 10 songs, all falling under the same style-umbrella of ska-based covers of non-humorous songs made to be humorous (well, the jury is still out on whether or not Poison ever took themselves seriously), you can only give the band credit where credit is due. They don't do anything very original with their new versions, either speeding them up or slowing them down. I mean, really, what else can you do? They've done this before with Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer, and that EP's charm ultimately worked to its advantage, as Barrett and Rachel Minton fused together quite well.
Taking a page from the Scrubs handbook, the album highlight is "Talk Dirty To Me," a duet between Barrett and Tatiana DeMaria, done with British accents (as to why, I'm not sure). It's a wonderfully silly finale to an album that wants to be the life of the party, but never manages to pull the lampshade off of its head. The band does get some miles out of Tom Petty & The Eagles (two of the album's more restrained covers), but Slade? Edna's Goldfish? These are songs not many fans will be all-too familiar with, taking away some of the novelty in this release -- and haven't we heard enough covers of "Brown Eyed Girl" already?
Fans will eat this up, because really, Fame is for them. This will fail to win any doubters over, but rest assured that the party Reel Big Fish brings to the table is hardly evident on record. Visit any one of their live shows and maybe the album kickoff, "Nothin' But A Good Time," will play better with stage lights flashing, beer raining down from on high, naked girls wiggling their tight booties and Fun Dip littering the crowd*.
Wait a second -- two Poison covers on one Reel Big Fish album?!
This has been the most exposure Bret Michaels has received since that tape of he and Pamela Anderson leaked.
No pun intended.
*These features of Reel Big Fish's live show are not guaranteed, but may have simply been incorporated in the dream I had while listening to this album.