Fish House Punch
Released April 20th, 2013
Fish House Punch, if you didn't know of them already, are a 4 piece ska-punk-blues outfit from the Council Bluffs/Omaha area. They dwell in the same sonic area as Sublime, Dispatch and all of the other classic ska-punk bands of the early to late 90's. That being said, there is quite a bit going on here.
Fortunate starts out with "No Pain," a song that is a call to arms, or at least a middle finger to the face, letting you know where you stand with FHP. They are the best, and will not let anyone keep them down. This notion is expressed again in "Fortunate." Although, the latter is set apart by its more in-depth lyrical content. Instead of just saying, "Fuck you," it is saying, "Hey man, I've been through enough, I don't need your shit, Fuck you." Which definitely adds a bit more weight to the lyrics. "Fortunate" also contains one great line that will stick with you for a long time after the song ends: "Rock bottom isn't that hard to hit."
The other two songs in the first third of the album are forgettable, though. Get Away is a song about a woman, as is Clementine. What makes Clementine more notable is that it suffers from a lack of focus (the song starts off about the eponymous woman, but then switches to first person observations) and a tortured rhyme scheme that sees every line rhyming with every previous line. It comes off a bit stilted and sort of like a half-hearted rap song.
Glass Tobacco, though, comes in like a breath of fresh air. An acoustically strummed ode to meth addiction sung with a Silver Jews swagger and attention to detail. There is a rare focus here that is refreshing compared to the rest of the album. The same can be said about Good Attorneys, a raucous, loud, drinking song that deserves to be sung at every dive and biker bar across the nation (at full volume). On the Reef, on the other hand, is exactly what comes to mind when you think of "blues song." The only thing keeping the song afloat is the personality of the vocalist, but at 7 minutes, even that can get tiring.
The last 3rd of the album is another set of fuzzed-out ska rock. "Goodbye," and "Spoiled," slip by with barely a notice. "Try'na Make It," is an anthem for anyone who has been broke, stoned, drunk and still found a way to have a good time with some friends. The album gets shaken up again with the goofy, sped up ska romper "Lone Sharks," that showcases this band at its most affable. Fortunate ends with a curiosity, "Sanctuary," which might be one of the only examples of an album ending with the words, "The End."
Fortunate hosts some pretty good songs to party to, a couple to think about, and a few more to party to. Each song on its own is a worthwhile listen, but at 12 songs, back to back, the similarities can get a bit overwhelming. But, if you are looking for a stiff shot of a good time, this album can not be beat.
Worth a Listen