Truth And Soul

Fishbone

Columbia, 1988

http://fishbone.net

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/20/2014

With their second full-length, Fishbone made a complete 180 in terms of sound. Gone were a lot of the goofier aspects of the band’s approach, replaced by a more conscious feel. With the changes in sound and look, the band ended up creating the greatest record of their career, one that became one of the most lauded albums of the ‘80s.

Bursting out of the gate with a cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic “Freddie’s Dead,” the song takes on a new meaning with the whole crack epidemic. But that’s not where the album’s greatest strengths lie. The band managed to become even greater musicians than before. Listen to the bass work on “Bonin’ in the Boneyard” and you will understand why so many people declare Norwood Fisher one of the greatest bass players of all time. His work all throughout the record appears to be superhuman and it lifts the music to the top of the mountain.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Keyboardist Chris Dowd starts to come into his own as a songwriter and vocalist. Shining brightest on “Pouring Rain,” a hell of a ballad where the band slows things down and creates probably their greatest ballad. Musically, the band is on fire throughout the entire record. Listen to “Slow Bus Movin’ (Howard Beach Party)” and you can quickly hear the intensity and power the band was working with. Taking on racism with Angelo barking out the lyrics, the band crafted an off-kilter masterpiece. Just total anarchy and total fun!

“One Day,” written by Dirty Walt is one of the quirkier songs but it works; in a way it feels like a cousin to “Turn the Other Way” from the previous record. Kind of slow but still fits in really well with the album’s whole vibe.

Still managing to retain their punk roots, the band rips through “Deep Inside” with so much intensity and attitude, one really starts to wonder why they never became as big as the Chili Peppers. With so much musical variation throughout the record, there’s something for everyone to enjoy; particularly on the album closer “Change,” written and performed by Chris Dowd and guitarist extraordinaire Kendall Jones. The acoustic ballad, recorded on MLK’s birthday, pleads for a change in the way of man. It’s a message that everyone can get behind and millions of songs have been written about but Dowd and Jones manage to force the listener to look at what’s going on around them to see what they do differently.

Making the best record of their career really sent Fishbone on a different course. They would try and duplicate this record’s success but would rarely hit the creative highs ever again. If there’s a connoisseur of ‘80s music and they have not ingested this record, then they need to get off their asses and jam on it right away!

Rating: A

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