The Essential Fishbone

The Essential Fishbone

Though its popularity and cultural cachet peaked around 1991, Fishbone predicted many of the trends that would dominate the rest of the '90s. No Doubt’s celebratory fusion of new wave and ska, Korn’s rubbery rap-metal hybrid, OutKast’s gonzo vision of psychedelic soul music: all those massively successful groups can trace some heritage to The Essential Fishbone. This compilation surveys the band’s first four LPs, each of which was more ambitious than the one that preceded it: In Your Face (1986), Truth and Soul (1988), The Reality of My Surroundings (1991) and Give a Monkey a Brain… (1993). During this stretch, the Los Angeles band morphed from inner-city pranksters to musical revolutionaries. At a time when rappers were bringing incendiary politics back to black pop music, Fishbone was one of the few rock bands unafraid to address racism and cultural alienation. Above all, Fishbone was never boring. Even when its ambitions outstripped its abilities, it made sure each song was a carnival unto itself, complete with rides, costumes, and dizzying displays of light and sound.

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