In Your Face

Fishbone

Columbia, 1986

http://fishbone.net

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/13/2014

On their first full-length record, Fishbone went for more of a soul/R&B type sound, still punctuated with punk and ska and while the record garnered the band some attention, it didn’t break them into the full-on mainstream. This record is an intriguing listen and begins to pave the way for the sound Fishbone would come to define over the next couple of years.

“When Problems Arise,” which was the main single, is totally an R&B jam with amazingly great keyboards from Chris Dowd and some really funky basswork from Norwood Fisher. If you ask me, Norwood and his brother/drummer Fish are one of the most underrated rhythm sections in the history of popular music. With that said, the band fires on all cylinders throughout the record.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Cholly,” a song about big boned women keeps with the times of ‘80s pop R&B with more great keyboards and a great all-around feeling from the band. The best song on the record, however, is “Give It Up,” which should’ve been all over the radio in 1986 but never got a fair shake. Full of life, beats, power and emotion, Angelo Moore sings the hell out of the song, as he always does and pumps the song up to the top of the heap.

“A Selection” is one of those love songs that the band never mastered but this track stands out because it’s full of energy and puts you in a great mood. The band began getting more issue oriented with tracks like “Turn the Other Way,” a slow-burner with some interesting music behind it and some amazing vocals from the whole gang. This is the direction the band would end up pursuing over the next couple of years.

Don’t let the title fool you: “Post-Cold War Politics” is nothing but a throwaway instrumental. The album closes with “Simon Says’ the Kingpin,” a quick little punker written by Angelo which thrives on Fish’s drumming, which was in a completely different class.

With this album, the band laid the blueprint for what their future would sound like. Listening to this record, no one could mistake Fishbone for the sounds of DeBarge or Teena Marie. Music that was a lot heavier and more personal lyrics awaited but this was a good start for what the band would come up with in the next couple of years.

Rating: B

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