welcome back to the Skaject folks! today we’re looking at Fishbone’s 1988 sophomore record, Truth and Soul. i know the big hit off this record, so i’m excited to check it out!

i didn’t find it out for my first few listens, but Freddie’s Dead is actually a cover of a track by Curtis Mayfield for the movie Superfly, and it goes for a rockier, harder vibe. Ma and Pa was the only Fishbone track i had really engaged with before this project – this song’s a fucking masterpiece. incredible song. i could listen to this forever. Question of Life’s nice – there’s some very good individual hooks here but the package overall’s just aight. Pouring Rain is a much more serious, downtempo track that’s measured and deliberate – that sliding brass is so so smooth here. Deep Inside brings the energy back way up for a shorter song. Mighty Long Way is a nice song – feels very classic rock in a way i can’t quite nail down, but it’s a nice track. very much not what i’m looking for on this record, but a nice song. Bonin’ in the Boneyard was the B side on Ma and Pa’s single – this one was a slow grower. i was just aight with it at first but it definitely made its mark and won me over. One Day was the same kinda late bloomer but in a very different way. the intro, that first forty or so seconds, is just excellent, but there are parts of the “verses” that don’t work as well for me. on the whole i think it’s still a v good song. another shorter track, Subliminal Fascism discusses the way social divides sow the seeds for fascist thinking, which… feels v appropriate 35 years on. Slow Bus Movin’ (Howard Beach Party) takes a more historical look at those divides with an almost twangier and more theatrical sound. neat track. Ghetto Soundwave cuts the closest to Ma and Pa in taking an extremely serious subject matter and bringing a bright, catchy sound to it, but in a much more measured way. i also really like this one. Change is another song that feels like it’s off a rock record from 20 years before this, but i dunno i think it works as a more soulful outro, a kind of call to action and denouement.

faves – Freddie’s Dead, Ma and Pa, Bonin’ In the Boneyard, One Day, Ghetto Soundwave
dislikes –

i dug this one – i was reading a bit about how this record was a pivot towards more harder, rockier sounds (as on opener Freddie’s Dead) and towards a less comic angle (the most upbeat and energetic track here is Ma and Pa, which is still about a very tragic scene). i think they manage to toe the line really well here, and the overall package is very very clean. the sequencing here really worked for me too – opening right out the gate with a cover and the big single, with some more energetic songs sprinkled in and Bonin’ at the halfway point, rising to a very satisfying finish. very nice.

Truth and Soul – 8/10

next up, we’re taking a look at the only other Operation Ivy release, Energy!

previous: The Madness | next: Energy

previous Fishbone release: It’s a Wonderful Life! | next: Set the Booty Up Right / Bonin’ In the Boneyard

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