Fush Yu Mang

Smash Mouth

Interscope Records, 1997

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/24/1999

Thanks to radio's non-stop playing of the single "Walkin' On The Sun," Steve Harwell and Smash Mouth almost instantly became the talk of the town. The retro-sound of that song seemed to indicate a new direction that alternative rock might be taking.

Too bad that the rest of Smash Mouth's debut album, Fush Yu Mang, doesn't live up to the same level of excellence. This first effort highlights a band that seems to want to be the next Green Day and Mighty Mighty Bosstones at the same time - and they fail to hit the mark often enough.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

If you pick this abum up expecting to hear more in the vein of "Walkin' On The Sun" - or even "All-Star" from their latest disc Astro Lounge, you're in for a major shock. More often than not, Harwell and crew engage in frantic ska that borders on being punk - hardly the sound we were led to expect from Smash Mouth.

Sometimes, this mixture works well. "Heave-Ho" is a fun song about the trials and tribulations of dealing with an asshole neighbor and a landlord who's a jerk (gee, sounds like the situation in my first apartment in River Grove) that is all but certain to put a smile on your face. Likewise, tracks like "Pet Names" and "Padrino" are surprisingly good tracks that are just as funny (though I wonder if this was intentional).

Other times, this doesn't work as well. "The Fonz," a slower number, fails dismally in its attempt to describe trying to live next to the ideal of one who is "cooler" than you. And i can't say that the cover of War's "Why Can't We Be Friends" is awe-inspiring; if there's any song that didn't need to be converted to reggae-on-crystal-meth, this was it. Stick to the original; it's more enjoyable to listen to.

Fush Yu Mang has moments where the material's success or failure will depend on your mood of the day. This time around, I happened to enjoy "Nervous In The Alley" and "Disconnect The Dots," but hated "Let's Rock" and "Beer Goggles". Your experience with these tracks will differ with each successive listen.

You'll notice I've withheld judgment on "Walkin' On The Sun," but it's no secret that I love this song, overplayed as it is. If there was any song that begged to be included on an Austin Powers film, this has to be a no-brainer. The style of this song makes it sound very James Bond-ish, and it's so catchy that you might just find yourself up dancing to this one.

Fush Yu Mang is a tape that might destroy people's expectations of Smash Mouth, and is very hit or miss. Approach this one with caution.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Interscope Records, and is used for informational purposes only.