Five Iron Frenzy
All The Hype That Money Can Buy
2000 Five Minute Walk Records
Reviewed by Earl Campbell
It has been billed as a "more rock" record, but while there are instances of basic rock nuance to be found on FIF's latest offering, All The Hype That Money Can Buy, they are mostly there for sardonic effectespecially on "The Phantom Mullet," a brilliant piece of stadium satire. Other than that and a few other minor samples, this album unapologetically rebukes the popular notion that "Ska is dead." In fact, not only has FIF stayed true to their Ska nature, they have delved further into the style, calling upon rootsy elements and even throwing in some pseudo-reggae now and again. It is this reviewer's opinion that the band made a very respectable decision in this regard, and the resulting album is something even the Toasters would probably approve of.
However, true to their past records, FIF makes musical diversity, unique character, and smart, masked social commentary their key focus. "Fahrenheit" and "Four-Fifty-One" take fervent stands against judgmentalness and ignorance. "Ugly Day" is a dichotomous pop tune that uses mock cheer to lament the loss of a would-be-mate. Somehow the upbeat "woah-ohs" just make it all the more depressing. "Giants" is too informed for its audience, and is closer to genuine socioeconomic subversiveness than any American Christian band has ever come. (Me-thinks that someone took a Political Economics and Social Movements class. Zinn...is that you?) Don't worry my dear scenesters, rounding out all that bothersome stuff that makes you think too much is some trademark wackiness, including a short ode to Larry Boy and a comical cover of "It's Not Unusual." "World Without End" and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" add the overt spiritual touch, and they are reverently but jubilantly handledsure to induce worshipful sentiments. The congregational A Capella touch and subtle ringing bells at the end of "World..." are beautiful.
"Solidarity" is a nice thought, but drifts into something a tad too forced musically, "You Probably Shouldn't Move Here" is entertainingthe first time, and "Hurricanes" gets boring after the second stanza. Overall, though, this is a VERY impressive album that doesn't back down on any front. Nice job.
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