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the Familyhood Nextperience
From ska to punk to reggae to rock—with sidetrips to jazz and pop and Donny Osmond (what, you got a problem with Donny?)—South Central L.A.’s Fishbone has forever spiced its pumped-up party stews with chunks of meat from just about every musical beast. The new Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx marks the group’s 15th year raising eclectic hell for the multiculti masses, and the 10-track album finds the six-piece band in a thoroughly groovin’ state of mind. Smooth-pated, wild-eyed frontman Angelo Moore continues to be a cheerfully creepy blend of Cabaret’s MC and Chuck Woollery, leading his troupe (plus special guests Flea, Gwen Stefani, Rick James, and the aforementioned Osmond) back to easy-goin’ Funkadelic yesterdays. Album opener “Shakey Ground” is the kind of windows-down ghetto soundwave that makes you wanna leave work two hours early, and the brassy, sassy “Where’d You Get Those Pants” is a ska-pop dance track with beyond-randy lyrics but a good heart (“Let’s hit the parking lot for a second glance/In the back seat of my Cadillac, let’s take a chance/Them bitchy britches look so dope/Hittin’ switches til it itches, let’s lose control”). Fishbone being Fishbone, of course, several schizoid departures pop up here and there to keep the listener honest: Guitarist Spacey-T can go only so long without a quick burst of hard-rock axework, and Moore morphs one slow jam into a madcap punk scramble fueled by a hell-born violin. Sure, this kind of genre-hopping has kept Fishbone from garnering steady commercial kudos, but how can you fault a band for having such a damn good time? —Sean Daly