Fishbone and the Familyhood Nextperience Presents: The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx
First Appeared at The Music Box, May 2000, Volume 7, #5
Written by John Metzger
Fishbone's music has always been a little difficult to categorize, and their latest effort The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx continues that trend. Each of the band's albums combines elements of ska, funk, punk, reggae, rock, and soul, though the in the past, the band quite often seemed content to push their songs at a frenetic pace. However, like their L.A. brethren the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone has seemingly mellowed a bit in their later years, even as they've shifted towards more introspective and political lyrics.
Sure, there are still a few of the thrashing punk-funk blends for which Fishbone is known scattered throughout The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx. Just Allow bounces along its throbbing bass line, pounding drum beat, and crunchy guitar chords, and Karma Tsunami consumes a swing groove to feed its frenetic frenzy.
For the most part, though, Fishbone just hangs back and explores its soulful side — from classic performers like Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, and Sly Stone to more contemporary artists like Lenny Kravitz. The star of The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx is unquestionably bassist Norwood Fisher, whose dexterous playing anchors the songs and layers them with an undercurrent of emotion. He adds radiant glee to Where'd You Get Those Pants, an ominous and haunting aura to the death-defying Dear God, and animated rapture to the funk-rock rave-up Shakey Ground.
In addition, Fishbone is augmented by an incredible array of guest appearances that include three members of the Chili Peppers (Flea, John Frusciante, and Chad Smith) as well as the likes of George Clinton, Perry Farrell, Charles and Ivan Neville, Gwen Stefani, and even, oddly enough, Donny Osmond — to name a few. Having so many friends along for the ride seems to have rejuvenated Fishbone. Consequently, The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx is not only a thoroughly enjoyable listen but may be the band's strongest outing to date.
The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx is also available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2000 The Music Box