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CD Review:

Taiwan music CD review Fishbone & the Familyhood Nextperience

Album: The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerk

Fishbone, to me, was one of the most whacked out, distinctive and probably the most eclectic alternative bands of the late '80s.  Combining equal parts of deep funk, high-energy punk and frantic ska, the group gained a sizable cult following but never seemed to attract a mainstream audience.

The L.A.-based group, led by vocalist/saxophonist Angelo Moore, formed in 1979 while the band was still in junior high school.  After performing in local clubs during the early '80s, the band signed with Columbia Records in the mid-'80s, releasing a self-titled EP in 1985.  The following year, Fishbone released their first full-length album, 'In Your Face'.  Although it was a somewhat slick production, the band's wacky sense of humor and the sheer energy of their performances burned through the slightly polished surface.

 'Truth and Soul', Fishbone's second album in 1988 captured the band at probably their most ambitious, as they slammed between heavy metal and funk.  The album expanded their audience and even charted at number 153.  However, the band didn't record a new album for another three years. In the years to follow, the band remained busy touring, putting out EP's, going through band member change-ups, switching labels and putting out more albums, but never really establishing itself as a mainstream success.

Despite their poor sales, the group remained a popular concert attraction, issuing the all-star 'Psychotic Friends Nuttwerk' in the spring of 2000.  Regrouping with a half-new lineup, Fishbone returned on Hollywood Records with their first album of new material since 1996.  Featuring a bevy of guest performers, from funk legends George Clinton and Rick James to legendary underground comedian 'Blow Fly' and--of all people--Donny Osmond.  There's also an assortment of fellow pioneers in the fusion of hard alternative rock with funk, including 'H.R.' of  'Bad Brains', Perry Farrell of  'Jane's Addiction' and 'Flea' of 'The Red Hot Chili Peppers'.

The record concentrates mostly on the funk and ska sides of the Fishbone sound, with a very sunny, good-humored vibe throughout.  With a total playing time of only 45 minutes, the album's funky reggae grooves keep you wanting more.

Refocused and obviously re-energized, 'The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerk' is far and away Fishbone's best album in nearly a decade. I being a long-time Fishbone fan recommend you to pick it up, by any means and stick it in yer ear.


-Stephen Taylor



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