Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 2
My immediate reaction on popping this CD in was one of disappointment. Like far too many bands now, The Aquabats! have all but left the ska sound that initially helped them find popularity behind. It’s been disheartening enough to see this trend strike so many bands (or is it that they’re leaving a faded trend behind? I hate to think of an entire genre as a “trend,” especially one as vibrant and storied as ska. But I digress), but to see it happen to a band I really, really liked, well, that really hurt. While I tried to keep in mind that this is a collection of rarities, B-Sides, outtakes, and the like, and might not be indicative of the band’s direction, it was still hard not to be disappointed.
Despite that, though, it was hard for me to stay mad at The Aquabats! I mean, how can you stay angry at a band that’s so relentlessly goofy, so (as the cover seal certifies) oddly amusing? Frankly, the band’s always taken at least as much inspiration from Devo as they have from ska music, and Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures Vol. 2 (nope, you didn’t miss it — there was no Vol. 1) simply finds the band heading more toward that end of their influences. Oh, there are still bits and pieces of ska, like “Pizza Day” and “Adventure Today,” but mostly it’s songs like “Hey Luno,” which could have been a lost Mark Mothersbaugh original. And what’s more, they’re lots of fun! I defy anyone to listen to “Pool Party,” replete with its fake phone conversation, pool party dialogue, and snatches of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” thrown in, and not at least crack a smile. Or for that matter, to not chuckle at the ribbing given to Michael Jackson on “Pizza Day.” And who can’t relate to the pathos and furor felt by the protagonist of “I Fell Asleep On My Arm,” a better rap-metal song than Fred Durst could ever manage (and a hilarious parody of said Limp one)?
So no, I can’t stay mad at “The World’s Bestest Super Buddies.” While I may resent the loss of the ska, The Aquabats! are just too darn much fun to avoid. If you’re a fan of Devo, Ween, James Kochalka, The Dead Milkmen, or “Weird Al” Yankovic, you owe it to yourself to check this record out, ’cause you’ll have a really good time with it. And if you’re NOT a fan of those bands, you probably don’t have the right (twisted) sense of humor for these guys, anyway. Your loss, I say•
Horchata/Fearless Records, 13772 Goldenwest St. #545, Westminster, CA 92683, http://www.theaquabats.com