Snotty boys with guitars never seem to go out of fashion. They often hover close to punk, like the Ramones or, more recently, Green Day. Or they can play straighter rock style like the Refreshments or Lit. They even come in foreign languages, like Die Ärzte. One of my faves from the last several years is Bowling For Soup.
Southern California party band Fight Fair treads similar ground. Their first full length album, California Kicks, is due out at the end of June. It has the right pop punk vibe, simple songs, and even a touch of surf guitar. They aren't trying to be that clever and their attitude is a bit weak for the genre. Still, I don't think they're quite aiming for "snotty boys with guitars". Rather, they're shooting for a rocking beach party scene and Fun, Fun, Fun.
The songs all feature some great Beach Boys style harmonies. Vocal arrangements are definitely their strong point. The lead off song, California Girls, is dead simple, with tight riffs and a perfect guitar sound. The pop style backup vocals get your head bopping along. The only weak moment is the somewhat forced chanting section. It's the kind of thing that probably works well live, but it doesn't translate here.
I've Got a Secret really draws the comparison to Bowling For Soup -- they throw in the same kind of tossed off comments between lines that BFS uses all the time. It's more pop than punk and it's catchy as hell. California Kicks and Going Nowhere cover some of the same ground and these songs are the closest to capturing that snotty sound.
Backseat Bingo hits the surf theme hot and heavy. The Big Bopper style intro is a little cheesy, but the Beach Boys surf drive is satisfying. It's an early '60s retro surf classic in the making. The lyrics are a modern touch (you'd never hear Mike Love singing, "So let's make out at your Mama's house/We're all loaded, gettin' going, why don't you take off that blouse..."). Plenty of innuendo, but they clearly love the old school music.
California Kicks is a fun listen. Sip something rummy with an umbrella in it while you enjoy the jams.