The Reality of My Surroundings


Columbia, 1991

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


“We will save you now!” Those are the first words heard on this record, a mind fuck of a record if there ever was one. Now free from the restrictions of producer David Kahne, Fishbone, now on their own, produced the type of record they had always wanted to make. Loud, chaotic and almost spiritual all at the same time; this is a record that needs to be heard to be believed.

The singles, “Fight the Youth,” “Sunless Saturday” and “Everyday Sunshine” are the standouts on the disc. The latter has a full-on Sly & the Family Stone vibe to it to make it one of the most righteous tracks of the early ‘90s. “Fight the Youth,” full of horns and attitude is a showcase for Fish on the drums, just completely in his element. “Sunless Saturday” is one of those songs tailor made for rock radio: just the right amount of attitude and melody to make it stand out from the metal of the time.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Several songs on the record, however, are total head scratchers. “Babyhead” is one of those songs that defy description or categorization, it just makes no sense at all. “Naz-tee May’en” is about being devoted to sex, it’s refrain of ‘me gay? No way!’ dates the song so badly. Then there are the interludes, titled “If I Were A…I’d” which are spoken-word rants about meter maids and the army. Just some weird shit that really does have to be heard to be understood.

Then there’s “Pressure” and “Housework,” two of the most high energy tracks this band has ever recorded. If you’re not whipped into a frenzy by the maniacal insanity here then you must have a problem. Imagine these tracks in the mosh pit!

“Asswhippin’” is one of those tracks that didn’t need to be here, it’s the sound of a whip cracking and Chris Dowd screaming. Its tracks like these that tended to bring down the energy of the whole record. Then there’s “Junkie’s Prayer,” a spoken word piece by Chris Dowd decrying the plight of the crackhead. It leads into “Pray for the Junkiemaker,” an actual song that continues the story. It seems the band was trying to piece together a story of life in the hood through many of the tracks but with twenty-three years passed since the album’s release, many of the messages just get lost in the craziness of the music.

The band were poised to break into the mainstream and managed to score some rock radio hits with “Everyday Sunshine” and “Sunless Saturday” and made a hell of an impression on ‘Saturday Night Live’ but it wasn’t enough to get the band where they needed to go. The frustration the band felt would impact their next several releases but as albums go, Reality is a really interesting record to try and wrap your head around.

Rating: B

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