One of the strange things that's happened to many of the ska-punk and neo-punk bands of the '90s is that as they've grown up and gotten to their third album, they start moving toward power pop territory, all seen through a new wave filter. Reel Big Fish is no exception to the rule. Their third album, Cheer Up!, still has elements of what brought them a hit in the post-alternative mid-'90s -- metallic guitars competing with brassy horns, a mischievous sense of humor -- but the tempos have slowed down a little, and they've spent more time crafting their songs, punching up the melody to the forefront, turning this into more of a pop album than a smirky rock album. This may distress some die-hard fans, but it actually results in a varied, infectious record that isn't just their most diverse album, it's their best. True, it doesn't capture the zeitgeist like their debut, but there's more character here, and it's more consistent, too. Not a bad way to mature.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine