Fun In The Sun With Smash Mouth

Smash Mouth, the Northern California answer to the punk-rock call, cover all the bases on their newest album Fush Yu Mang.

The recent release comes across as a sampler of popular punk styles: '77 punk, ska and hardcore. In fact, Smash Mouth don't restrict their stylistic hat tips to punk; the band takes a little bit from almost every musical trend in California since the beginning of rock.

"Walkin' On The Sun," the album's third track and radio darling, infuses a keyboard intro a la Beck's "Where It's At" with a tune that sounds a little too close to Steely Dan's classic "Do It Again" for comfort. Luckily for Smash Mouth, the combo is so catchy, you almost forget that you've heard it before.

Not to be outdone by his Southern California competitors, such as NOFX, "Let's Rock" has Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell whining the lyrics in his best Fat Mike impression. The chorus, "Fuck it, let's rock," goes with the brash and bratty straight-ahead punk-rock guitars like maggots to moldy meat.

"Nervous In The Alley" documents the story of life on the California streets set to the bouncy up tempo of ska. "Dying in the alley waiting for her man/ Carrying her child and a sleeping bag/ Should have would have could have never crossed her mind."

While there's no question that Smash Mouth are derivative, Fush Yu Mang contains many of the feel good sounds of the West Coast. From the Beach Boys' "ooo-weee-oo"s of "Beer Goggles" to the surf guitar of "Nervous In The Alley," Smash Mouth deliver an album that's all California-- and that means fun.