REEL BIG FISH
Life Sucks…Let’s Dance!
Rock Ridge Music
Life Sucks…Let’s Dance! is the latest release from the everlasting Orange County ska-punk band Reel Big Fish. It’s their first full-length studio release since 2012’s Candy Coated Fury. What has the band been doing during those six years between records? They released Happy Skalidays (a six-song holiday EP in 2014), and they toured…and toured…and toured a little more. Reel Big Fish averages over 250 live shows a year spanning the globe, so it’s easy to forgive them for taking extra time to put out another record. No fear, Life Sucks…Let’s Dance! is well worth the wait.
The entire album sounds more like classic Reel Big Fish than previous efforts, and that’s no more evident than with the title track which opens things up. “Life Sucks; Let’s Dance” sounds like it could have been pulled straight from the pre-Jive Records era Reel Big Fish. With its bouncing horns and cheerfully depressing lyrics, “Life Sucks; Let’s Dance” sets the tone for a fantastic record.
The first single for the record, “You Can’t Have All Of Me,” tells the tale of a man trying to save a bit of life for himself amongst the demands and responsibilities of everyone around him. It is a solid offering and a great taste of the sound of the rest of the record.
Life Sucks…Let’s Dance! has all the staples for a Reel Big Fish record that fans have come to expect. Want a sappy love song? Try “In Love Again.” Need a song with a higher alcohol percentage? “Another Beer Song” is for you. Reel Big Fish even threw in a couple of covers for the die-hards with re-recordings of two Forces of Evil songs: “Ska Show” and “The Good Old Days.” The band closes out the record with a surprisingly laid-back instrumental about lead singer Aaron Barrett’s dog called “Walter’s Highlife.” Incidentally, Walter has his own Instagram account
I’ve been a fan of Reel Big Fish since 1996 when my friend Dave played their Teen Beef split 7” with Goldfinger. 22 years, 9 studio records, a live recording, 4 EPs, and a slew of compilations later, Reel Big Fish has cemented their legacy as the ambassadors of ska. 2018 has been an excellent year for ska, and Reel Big Fish has ensured the year ended on a 2-tone beat with Life Sucks…Let’s Dance!
Featured image by: JodieCunningham