Truth and Soul, by Fishbone
Reviewed by Mik Parkin
I got 18% in my one and only music exam.
Don’t get me wrong music goes in to me just fine. It can make me joyful, make me dance, make me angry and make me weep over people I’ve never met and will never know.
It just doesn’t come out right. This is my first ever music review and I’m making it up as I go along.
In the pictures there’s a predicted interest curve graph on how much I enjoyed each track. It’s Sunday morning and if you are reading this before breakfast you may well want a colourful picture instead of reading a long, badly worded essay.
Listen I’ll make you a deal, I’ll put my score out of ten here if you promise to read some of the rest of the review and listen to Subliminal Fascism (track 9). Promise?
Truth and Soul gets a solid 7/10 for an intelligent, horn riddled bounce fest.
Fishbone are a Los Angeles American funk, rock, metal, jazz outfit from the late 70s to present day. This album is from 1988.
If you like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Rancid, Jane’s Addiction (especially for barking dog samples) or the Specials you’ll probably get something from these chaps.
Lets go track by track.
Track 1. Freddie’s Dead. It’s a Curtis Mayfield cover version and a bit of a lumpish one. Have you ever ordered something with black pudding as a starter? It’s a bit claggy and you need a drink of water to clear the palate afterwards. It doesn’t sound like they’ve met Freddie or are particularly upset about his passing. The track lumbers about a bit and then stops. 3/10. Please don’t let the whole album be like this.
Track 2. Ma and Pa. Hello. This is more like it. We have bounce, rhythm and a tale of a family break up. It’s heartfelt, personal and has energetic grunts, brass and sparkling organ trills. The ska is strong in this one. 7/10
Track 3. A Question of Life. It starts off sounding like the Thames television TV intro but soon becomes another leg energising slice of joy. It’s not world changing but neither are millionaire’s slices and they’re boss. 6/10
Track 4. Pouring Rain. It’s five minutes of the Fishbone lads trying to pull off a mournful mardy song and it didn’t grab me at all. 30 seconds of ‘shoobie doos’ at the end too, no need. Leave this stuff to the Cocteau Twins please. 1/10
Track 5. Deep Inside. It’s a one minute short, rollicking bundle of fun which is just what I wanted. He’s cross with someone who has a ‘Tonka toy dump truck up your ass.’ 7/10
Track 6 Mighty Long Way. This sounded like Eddie Van Halen knocked on the door asking for a cup of sugar and fancied sticking around to have a twiddle. I want to get drunk in a pub with fab people and have this song on as the third to last before we leave. The last two songs on a night out are always a bit sad because you know you need to go home. 8/10 More of this kind of thing please.
Track 7 Bonin’ in the Boneyard. I thought this was a horn heavy instrumental about having sex either in a butchers or a scrapyard. There’s the best sample of dogs barking in this since Been Caught Stealing by Janes Addiction. 8/10
Track 8 One Day. Either they needed a breather after the last three bangers or they thought we did. There’s a metronome, noodly bass and a lot of ‘bom bom boms.’ Not for me. 5/10
Track 9. Subliminal Fascism. Mad organ playing, the rolling crunch of what reminds me of Anthrax and a fantastic rock growl. Add to this Fishbone giving us the lowdown about fascism leaking into the media in the US. This song is a moshpit looking for someone to dive on. Best song on the album. 9/10
Track 10. Slow Bus Movin’ The tune is reminiscent of the Theme To Rawhide and is a country funk exploration of the civil rights movement. You can feel the grinding anger from the band at institutional violence against people of colour. 7/10
Track 11. Ghetto Soundwave. This could have been written in 2020 or in 1950. Fishbone voicing their frustration at black people being shot down in the street in the USA and can’t get justice from the courts or change from the politicians. It’s definitely a more restrained vibe musically to get the message across. 6/10
Track 12. Change. I really wish this album had ended on more of crescendo. It feels like they wanted to do a ‘lighters in the air’ Wind of Change anthem but I just wanted the horn section back and to be in the same pub on track 6. Eddie Van Halen had been kicked out and the fellow from Extreme had muscled his way in wearing that vest. However I got 18% in music and couldn’t do anything as good as this if my life depended on it. 3/10
Overall it’s intelligent, vibrant and robust in all the right ways. Thanks for recommending it Craig.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. You smell of cinnamon toast and your hair looks nice today.