Even before this CD was put in the player, this scribe had a rather nice chuckle looking at the cover of this release from Canberra band The Fighting League. It is a rather brilliant piss take on the cover of The Human League album “Dare”, with the same lettering font, design and pineapple pieces where Phil Oakey’s face would be. It is a good indication of a band that don’t take themselves too seriously while, at the same time, being good at what they do.
Kicking off with “Sad Sad Sad Mum And Dad”, The Fighting League specialise in a strange, self coined description of ‘tropical punk’. Namely, while punk in attitude and style, there is a glorious sense of melody and pop that cuts through the more abrasive edges of that musical style here. The Fighting League are what one imagines the offspring of the members of The Ramones would sound like if ‘da brudders’ had had kids. They very much prove themselves to be spiritual cousins of classic pop/punk bands like NOFX and The Dead Milkmen.
There is an incredibly likeable and charming attitude and style at play on Tropical Paradise. It is refreshing to see and hear a band that have a sense of humour, while being serious towards the sonic style and vision of what they do. Overall, “Tropical Paradise” is a lot of fun and will be a great album to chuck on at a summer party or barbeque.
Sonically, they have a great sound and spark to them. Check out the almost country-influenced guitar playing and plucking on the propulsive “Pizza Man”. You can almost see a mosh pit in front of you simply by listening to the track.
The band have a wonderful, off the cuff style to them, perhaps best illustrated by their lead singer, Dominic ‘Peace & Love’ Death. Sounding like he just stumbled out of bed and sculled a couple of cans of Red Bull, he definitely personifies the laidback style and attitude of The Fighting League. “Calypso” immediately prompts images of dancing and drinks involving small fruit forrests. The hilarious “Like The Rolling Stones”, with its fake-Keith Richards main riff, sounds like what one imagines Mick Jagger would sound like after sucking on some helium balloons. It manges to be shambolic and utterly charming at the same time-no mean feat.
Other great tracks include “About A Boy”, “Those Girls” and “19”. The music on Tropical Paradise captures beautifully that attitude of being in your late teens and early twenties. The energy and sheer lust for life that you have at that age is distilled beautifully on this debut release from the band.
Punky music that makes you want to dance, Tropical Paradise ends up sounding like the bastard offspring of The Ramones and The B52’s. This is a great debut release and a hell of a lot of fun. This will definitely be part of this scribe’s summer soundtrack.
– Neil Evans