This is one for the fans. Back in 1995, Reel Big Fish scraped together the money to self-release their self-produced debut album, Everything Sucks. The record swam quickly offshore, giving them a chart topper on Radio Free Hawaii, but with only 3,000 copies pressed, fame and fortune didn't beckon quite yet. Understandably, the Fish weren't keen to throw away an entire record's worth of perfectly good songs. So they didn't. Many of them would be recut for inclusion on their next two albums, 1996's Turn the Radio Off and 1998's Why Do They Rock So Hard?. In between their debut and sophomore sets, the band underwent some lineup shifts after a couple of fish swam off, but that surprisingly had little effect on the group's sound. In fact, what's even more unexpected is how finished these original "demos" (as the band would soon refer to them) actually are, a few tweaks here and there were all that was needed to polish them up, at least as far as those recut for Radio went. By the time the Fish came to record Rock, however, a somewhat more radical revision incurred. What's less surprising then, is that the real differences are heard not in the arrangements, but in the production and engineering. And although the Fish themselves did an adequate job under the circumstances, in truth they were out of their depth, which Radio makes clear. But this school of Fish were fast learners, and by the time they came to record Rock they were co-producing with the best of them. The new Sucks includes not only two previously unreleased songs, but the video for "Everything Sucks" (that counter intuitively wasn't Sucks's title track, but a number from Radio), and other interactive features. Hear where it all started, watch the Fish grow from small smelts to kings of the sea, and see just why these fish became so big.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene