Goofy, Ambitious Ska Duets Benefit From Your Inattention


Most survivors of the ’90s ska revival have grown up and moved on. Less Than Jake became a regular fixture on the Warped Tour, Gwen Stefani became a sex kitten, etc. Only Reel Big Fish, always the silliest band in a class of jokers, refused to mature. Blame it on a mainstream that never got RBF’s shtick: one part self-deprecation, two parts mockery. So now they figure they can do whatever they want, which apparently means siring an overblown, hysterical duet EP with their buddies in “spunk rock” band Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer.

Duet All Night Long, besides flaunting the best title pun since Blink-182’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, consists of six cover songs done duet-style. RBF’s Aaron Barrett and Zolof’s Rachel Minton trade lines on classically absurd songs like the Paul McCartney–Michael Jackson debacle “Say Say Say” and “It’s Not Easy,” a selection from second-tier Disney flick Pete’s Dragon. Since no one is paying attention, Duet has the freedom to experiment, such as on a version of Fishbone’s “Lyin’ Ass Bitch.” What does it feel like when a ska band covers a ska band? Like staring into parallel funhouse mirrors. When these jokers rip into the Smiths’ “Ask” with la-la-la’s, a massive horn section, and a calypso beat, they aren’t just ripping on Morrissey, but on every band that believes being silly means you can’t get the girl. Especially when the girl turns out to be a prankster too.