Record Label: Alternative Tentacles
Genre: Ska Punk
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Citizen Fish continue to provide competent ska-punk on “Goods,” their eighth full length. Politically charged as ever, the album follows their favorite themes of out-of-control consumerism, mass production and consumption, and brainwashing corporate media. Of special note lyrically is a tune criticizing violence in the punk scene (“How Far Does It Go?”) and one about an institutionalized friend (“Marker Pen”).
Like much of Citizen Fish’s work, lyrics are a mouthful and come out in long, often monotone vocal lines. CF’s musical accompaniment typically follows suit with lengthy, midtempo verses. (While I like CF, I don’t consider them the most song-oriented ska-punk band out there.) With the exception of their 1995 masterpiece “Millennia Madness,” any catchiness in CF tunes usually relies on breakdowns of scratchy ska guitar up-picking and jaunty horn arrangements.
While I’m still waiting for that brilliant follow-up to “Millennia Madness” in respect to memorable, peppy tunes, “Goods” comes very close. More so than in the last 15 years, there is an emphasis here on the ska part of the equation, with great upbeat ska guitar in favor of bland punk riffs, and up-front horn lines that drive the melodies. There are tunes on here, like “Fearless,” “Spotless,” and the closer “Wake Up,” that are among the most “songful” Citizen Fish have written in years.
Bottom Line: Catchiest CF tunes in years.
Notable Tracks: Human Conditioner, Better, Insane, Marker Pen, Fearless, Discomfort Zone, Spotless