Monkeys For Nothin' And The Chimps For Free review by Reel Big Fish

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  • Released: Jul 10, 2007
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 9.2 (80 votes)
Reel Big Fish: Monkeys For Nothin' And The Chimps For Free
5

Sound — 8
Having been dropped from their label in 2006, Reel Big Fish finally felt relieved -- the relationship with Jive Records weren't too god lately. By that time they already knew what it's like when people don't know how to promote your music and even what to call you. There was no other way out than to start own label and finally feel free to do whatever strikes them! They were planning to make a compilation of b-sides and rarities, but eventually started writing new songs, which turned out into a new album, called Monkeys For Nothin' And The Chimps For Free. Out of 17 tracks on the CD some were borrowed from the band's '90s demos, some from album sessions that didn't fit the scheme and from the band's debut album Everything Sucks. The new songs feature the band's new happy vision of life. With so many different tracks written in different times all on one album, frontman Aaron Berratt, who also produced it, managed to make the record sound solid. Famous for their passion to covers, Reel Big Fish couldn't avoid a cover track on the album. This it is Phil Collins' Another Day In Paradise. Reel Big Fish made it harder, ska-beat and of course with horns. A lot of tracks feature the mix of different music styles, including occasional rock guitar solos. The band claims Monkeys For Nothin' And The Chimps For Free is one of the easiest records they've ever created. And you can feel it listening to the album -- it is a chilling and positive CD thanx to both it's lyrics and music.

Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are very straight-forward. Unlike those songwriters that try to veil the meaning of the songs, singing about nothing in particular, Reel Big Fish are quite obvious. You told that son of a bitch to get out of the place or you'll punch him in the face -- you don't have to rack your brains with lyrics like that. In Everybody's Drunk the guys sing about puking, trash cans and other necessary attributes of a real party. The track's sing-alone chorus makes it a perfect one to sing at a party. Another F.U. Song is probably the song with the most F words in it -- there are about 30 f--ks per minute. It stars with the words Hi kids, it's time to use the F word! A great song to sing if you feel pissed off and need something to cheer you up. The vocals are party/lets-sing-together style. Vocalist Aaron Barrett is more shouting than actually singing. Some back vocals are done in Queen-style, adding a musical atmosphere to the song.

Overall Impression — 8
Having gained mainstream recognition in the late '90s, during the third wave of ska, the band still struggle in their genre, pleasing true ska punk fans. Releasing the album on their own record label, they don't care about the changes in the music world or new tendencies, as well as about the rules of songwriting or explicit lyrics. Leaving the song without the end or mixing all possible music genres in one track and swearing in every line makes their seal. The guys are very enthusiastic about their music. For quite a long time in their career they can finally do things their own way and it feels like they're celebrating the fact with Monkeys For Nothin' And The Chimps For Free. It may be not as radio-friendly or mass-oriented as their previous albums, but at least it has more of the band's identity, which makes the record interesting.

38 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Mitcho89
    I work at the coolangatta hotel and saw these guys live with Guttermout - if there was ever a day I was happier to go to work I don't think i'll be seeing it yet. But seriously screw labels and style labels - if it's good it's good.
    Valetar
    hmm never heard of these guys, I just might check them out. I like the Dire Straight's reference
    Feez
    basketcase23 wrote: I saw them at Summerfest like a week before the release, and it was easily one of the best shows I've ever been to. They kept referring to the cd as the Holy Grail and Arc of the Covenent of ska music, and played some songs from the cd, and if they wouldn't have sold out their presale copies I would've definately bought it.
    I was there! That was an amazing show!
    Feez
    basketcase23 wrote: I saw them at Summerfest like a week before the release, and it was easily one of the best shows I've ever been to. They kept referring to the cd as the Holy Grail and Arc of the Covenent of ska music, and played some songs from the cd, and if they wouldn't have sold out their presale copies I would've definately bought it.
    I was there! It was amazing! Their new CD is awesome!
    tasty licks
    vlp_dope wrote: reel big fish,less than jake, streetlight manifesto and against all authority in 2 weeks, i can't ****ing wait!
    hell yeah! me too, I'm going to Janus Landing in st pete, FL
    misirlou
    these guys put on a pretty decent show, but ska in general is getting so boring...
    Green Clash
    misirlou wrote: these guys put on a pretty decent show, but ska in general is getting so boring...
    It depends on what ska you listen to. The sterotypical "Green Day with horns" 90's ska band may be boring, but bands like The Slackers, The Specials, Streetlight, and Reel Big Fish are so fun to listen to.
    DackAttac
    I really thought We're Not Happy would be the end of the Fish in their fans' eyes, the public's eye and maybe altogether, what with the angry references within the group (they already had one of the highest group member turnover rates I've ever seen). Part of me wonders if their Marvelous 3-esque power-pop makeover that came into play on Cheer Up! and became stale as hell by We're Not Happy disappears on this album because they were aware it was getting old, or if the record label forced their hand on that issue in the first place. But once you sound super-polished and radio ready once, it's hard to go back to your roots without giving off a backpedaling vibe. This is a solidly fun little ska album, but it must have taken a ton of work to make it sound like progress (despite the B-side, outtake and Everything Sucks covers, which are best viewed as some generous bonus tracks). Oh, and it's 45 fks per minute on Another FU Song. I counted.
    mattman95
    i've always liked their music, and i am a huge ska fan, although this isn't exactly the traditional sort, and i've never bought an album before, but i think i ll probably give this one a shot, they sound far more inventive than most bands around at the moment.
    Cal UK
    Might pick this up, I could get back into the fish. Although I΄ll probably get Everything sucks first, as I΄ve heard its their best album.
    J6strings21fret
    RELL BIG FISH ROCK! I was at the show in NY the day the CD officially released! Amazing live, buy tickets now!
    improbbagel
    This album seemed a bit more repetitive than their previous ones, but the recording quality has improved a great deal. Good stuff, man.
    juniorfr3ak
    Gah, I hate that Reel Big Fish won't be at the warped tour in houston... but I';; still buy the album eventually
    Feez
    Reel Big Fish is my favorite band, they have been for the past two years. I have all of there CD's in this one is by far there happiest one, I love it.
    Hunter636
    This album is AWESOME! Buy it. There's already a GP of Way Back, courtesy of yours truly!
    vlp_dope
    reel big fish,less than jake, streetlight manifesto and against all authority in 2 weeks, i can't ****ing wait!
    gonegonegone
    "Slow Down"'s a pretty good song from the album. I just can't get past the lyrics in "Party Down" though. I'll be at their show in Baltimore!
    basketcase23
    I saw them at Summerfest like a week before the release, and it was easily one of the best shows I've ever been to. They kept referring to the cd as the Holy Grail and Arc of the Covenent of ska music, and played some songs from the cd, and if they wouldn't have sold out their presale copies I would've definately bought it.
    StueyALBB
    All the best bands seem to get dropped or ripped off by record labels Whitmore is another great Ska band. They split in 2005 though
    red_hot_chili17
    EVERYBODY'S DOING THE FISH!!! absolute legends I tell ya - saw em @ Yeovil recently ...BEST LIVE SHOW ENVIROMENT I'VE EVER BEEN TO!!! I'll have to check this bad boy out very soon!!! peace out fellow RBF - ers
    sinustrouble93
    I have been a fan for a few years now and I am really excited to get this album. gettin it in the next week :]