The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx

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Regrouping with an approximately half-new lineup, Fishbone returned in 2000 on Hollywood Records with their first album of new material since 1996's Chim Chim's Badass Revenge. Sporting a full title of Fishbone and the Familyhood Nextperience Presents: The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx, the record presents a bevy of guest performers, from funk legends George Clinton and Rick James to Gwen Stefani, lead singer of fellow California ska aficionados No Doubt, to legendary underground comedian Blowfly, to -- of all people -- Donny Osmond; there's also an assortment of fellow pioneers in the fusion of hard alternative rock with funk, including Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction, H.R. of Bad Brains, and the instrumental portion of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Still and all, it's definitely Fishbone's show, and thanks to the band's most memorable and focused batch of songs in quite some time -- even not counting the covers of Sly & the Family Stone's "Everybody Is a Star" and the Temptations' "Shakey Ground" -- it's an often formidable show at that. The record concentrates most heavily on the funk and ska sides of the Fishbone sound, lending a sunny, good-humored vibe throughout; plus, with a total playing time of 45 minutes, the album's eclectic grooves are kept from meandering or growing stale. Refocused and re-energized, The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx is far and away Fishbone's best album in nearly a decade.

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