Phat Albert - "self-titled"
DamPhool Records

The college atmosphere seems to breed party bands like nothing else. However, most of these bands last long enough to play a few house parties, and then dissolve after an evening of alcohol-fueled debauchery. Not so with Phat Albert. They’ve lasted long enough to play around the area for five years, and put out two demos.

Yet, it took ‘til now for them to put out a full-length. Was it worth the the wait? Well, happily, it takes some new tracks and mixes them with new recordings of songs from their first two demos. Phat Albert has now taken their Sublime-influenced sound to the next level, and rocks out. The sound ranges from ska, to rock, to funk, and all with a dash of hip-hop.

The negative aspects of this album are fairly simple. Phat Albert has quite a few influences and flows fairly nicely through the various genres. Too bad the band wears them fairly openly, and many of their songs bear an unfortunate resmebalnce to other tunes. The opening riff to the album sounds like it was directly lifted from Sheryl Crow’s "All I Wanna Do" and "Best Friend" still sounds like a take-off of the Gadjits’ "Forever."

The new recordings have hindered the band’s sound, as well. The sound may be clearer and fuller, but in tweaking the songs, Phat Albert has lost some of the elements that made their songs enjoyable. "Little Rascals" previosuly had a cool fade-in keyboard part, and that’s been dropped. The guitar parts of "Typical Party Song" have improved, and it hits harder than it did, which I enjoy, but the new drummer slows the song down, and doesn’t get into the party atmosphere.

The band just seems unable to decide whether or not they want to be Sublime with a lower THC content or the Urge with less rage and aggression. The albumn waffles between funk-ska and rap-rock with some success at each, but never a bona-fide hit from either style.

Hell, the standout track is "Devious," a collaboration between the band and various local hip-hop artists. It’s a Dirty South meets Madwest style with some killer funk riffs, but the thing is, it’s completely obvious that it wasn’t originally planned for inclusion on the album. The band would have done better to have released it under a different name and used the success from that single to start over. As it is, they’re stuck with one amazing single attatched to a series of mediocre tunes.