The Aquabats – Charge!! (CD)

During their first track on “Charge!!”, The Aquabats mix together the guitars and structures of Interpol with the stop-start nature of Devo to create a new hybrid of music that does not find a parallel in any other band. Throwing in a little bit of Misfits-cheese for the breakdown, The Aquabats are literally boiling over with all the energy that they can muster. The Aquabats’ largest contribution to popular music is their impressive ability to incorporate a number of differing genres into their ska backing, to make a style of music that is distinctly The Aquabats’ own. So, “Stuck In A Movie” uses Atom and His Package-like synthesizers, traditional emo-type of singing and only the lightest ska-influenced guitar/bass dynamic (which really owes more to The Clash than to The Specials).

The mixing of a band’s general sound with a decidedly more electronic sound works on “Charge!!”, where it failed miserably in MSI’s latest atrocity, “You’ll Rebel to Anything”. “Tiger Rider Vs. The Time Sprinkler”, just for a second recalls the best of The Misfits and distills it to just a few lines in this track. The band loses its way during both “Nerd Alert” and “Plastic Lips”, which contain the same luster that was such a hallmark of the band but not of the driving sound or catchiness that really show themselves on other tracks of the CD. The Aquabats begin to climb back up the mountain during “Look At Me, I’m A Winner”, a track which pairs the unlikely union of Andrew W.K. and The Cars in something that only can be called a success.

“Hot Summer Nights (Won’t Last Forever)”finds a way to sneak on radio by using largely the same brand of emo couching that was found in “Stuck in A Movie” and an infectious chorus that will cause all sorts of people to call in and request it. The Aquabats come forth on “Charge!!” which really was surprising; here I was looking for a brand of ska like Mustard Plug and yet I get a utterly distinctive brand of punk, pop, rock, emo, and a whole lot of other influences. The Aquabats have created a fairly tight album that only has a gaffe or two on its forty-minute runtime. “Charge!!” should be put alongside “Money Money 2020” (The Network), “Q. Are We Not Men” (Devo) and Hair: Debatable (Atom and His Package) and played constantly, at loud volumes.

Top Tracks: Meltdown, Hot Summer Nights (Won’t Last Forever)

Rating: 6.8/10

The Aquabats – Charge!! / 2005 Nitro / 13 Tracks / http://www.theaquabats.com / http://www.nitrorecords.com / Reviewed 20 May 2005

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