Bands usually release and album and then go on tour to support it. Reel Big Fish haven’t quite gone that route, having just undergone a massive touring year – including some incredible dates in the UK with Less Than Jake – which they’re capping with the release of their eighth studio album, Life Sucks, Let’s Dance. The fact that they regularly play 250 shows a year perhaps makes it tricky to take time off to focus on writing and recording an album in one go!
Work on the album began in January of this year and it comes out just in time for you to get it as a late Xmas present, and a jolly little gift it would make too. One of the brashest, bounciest and most fun albums they’ve dropped to date, Life Sucks, Let’s Dance should be well received by fans and casual listeners alike.
While I am a fan of the band, I’m more of a “greatest hits” kind of fan. A “see them when they play live” person, where I’ll know all the big tracks which appeal to me and I know I’ll have spent my money well (because let’s face it, they’re brilliant live). As such, I actually don’t listen to them at home all that much. There are a couple of tracks on each album that I like so I find myself hitting “skip” a lot.
Life Sucks, Let’s Dance has kicked that habit into the corner. Hands down, I think this is the strongest album they’ve ever released. Yes there are tracks that are better than others, but there aren’t any I feel like skipping after a few listens. Even the inclusion of sappy numbers like “In Love Again” and “I’d Rather Get It Wrong” (lead lyricist Aaron Barrett got married this year) don’t detract from the expected wit, scathing humour and danceability.
From the opening title track, this unlucky baker’s dozen of songs barely lets up in tempo. The only really slow number is “Bob Marley’s Toe” which goes for a more laid back reggae tone (of course). A homage to Marley, although focused on the melanoma that led to his death, RBF manage to be chilled, respectful and tasteless all at the same time. Neat trick if you can do it.
You can get your dancing shoes on to “Life Sucks, Let’s Dance”, “Ska Show” and “I Should Know By Now”, get your rage on to “Tongue Tied and Tipsy Too” and “Bleached Thang, Baby”, and wave your hands to “Good Old Days”. Want a singalong? Here’s “G.D. Beautiful Day”. More in the mood to just jump around and go mental? Hell, take your pick. “Another Beer Song” is as good a choice as any.
Wrapping up with instrumental “Walter’s Highlife” I was more than happy to have the music player loop me back around to the start for another play. And another. Life Sucks, Let’s Dance is the first Reel Big Fish album that’s captured me as thoroughly as their live show.
Header image by Jodie Cunningham
Life Sucks, Let’s Dance is out on December 21st