Saturday, February 14, 2009

WRETCH FALAFEL ARCHIVES - FISHBONE - STILL STUCK IN YOUR THROAT


At the beginning of 2004 it looked like the Fishbone monster had ground to a halt.... the blow-ins had been jettisoned and the core of Angelo Moore, John Norwood Fisher and Fish called a sabbatical to re-assess their fantastical sonic journey. Now very definitely regrouped with a very capable ex-Suicidal Tendencies guitarist Rocky George on board, Fishbone gallop back into town in a blaze of glory not witnessed from the band since THE REALITY OF MY SURROUNDINGS ( '91 ) and with possibly their finest album alongside the defining TRUTH AND SOUL ( '88 ). To get here It’s gotta have been a very weird journey - In particular, the episode with former guitarist Kendal Jones is the stuff of folklore ( space and clarity forbid yet another second-hand rendition of the story but you’ll no doubt find plentiful reference to it on the internet if you really need to know ).

This band was always sickeningly talented, manic, hyper and multidimensional in a way that probably turned off as many listeners as it won. By 1989, the fusion underground was Faith No More, Fishbone And The Chilli Peppers... and while Faith No More’s turmoil imploded the band in the mid 90’s and the Chilli’s went on to be the vanilla choice of spotty would-be alternatives with tippexed schoolbags, Fishbone somehow remained under the radar, a deeply irritating fact not lost on Columbia records who held onto the band for so long before finally losing faith after 1993’s GIVE A MONKEY A BRAIN AND HE’LL SWEAR HE’S THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE.

STILL STUCK IN YOUR THROAT, the 7th album in a sprawling and impressive 29 years is a glorious masterwork. We’ve got hardass riffing on LET DEM HO’S FIGHT, a hefty 10 minute chunk of bottom-end soul in WE JUST LOSE OUR MINDS, the band’s 2 Tone, punk and Parliament / Funkadelic roots put through the mincer on SKANK’N GO NUTTZ, JACKASS BRIGADE, PREMADAWNUTT and the wonderfully titled FACEPLANT SCORPION BACKPINCH. It’s all classic Fishbone, brassy, chunky and soaked in a musical capability that evokes a sort of jealous nausea!!! John Norwood Fisher’s 5 string bass was always this Fishbone’s spine and throughout this 12 track maelstrom it’s nothing short of stunning. But it’s FREY’D FUCKIN’ NERVE ENDINGS that stands tall as the crown’s gemstone.... This is Bad Brains with brass, Poison Idea fronted by Curtis Mayfield!!! Angelo Moore’s vocals have seldom been better and I’ll be damned if he can’t pull off that masterful hardcore scat as pioneered by HR!!!! All this and so much more capped off by Sublime’s DATE RAPE, which might as well be a Fishbone original for what they’ve done so effortlessly to make it their own! - BOZ



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