Audio Karate is a good band, make no mistake about it; Lady Melody is one of the coolest records I’ve heard in the past year. You should know something about me, though, which may bias my opinion: I love Jawbreaker, and Audio Karate sounds like Jawbreaker for the new millennium. Whether you share my love for Blake Schwarzenbach and company is your business, but I thought you may want to know that about me before we move on.
Lady Melody starts off with a tremendous fist in the stomach, in the form of the incredibly powerful, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy-era Jawbreaker ode “Jesus is Alive and Well (and Living in Mexico).” The guitars are a straight forward, powerful blast of melody, with the occasional dissonant tone thrown in for good measure. The vocalist must have graduated summa cum laude from the Schwarzenbach School for the Vocally Gifted. His raspy scream is color-by-numbers Jawbreaker. The album also features some slower love-type songs, such as “Hey Maria,” which finds occasion to rock during the chorus; it’s a totally mid-1990’s alterna-hit in the making.
For the most part, this album is one Jawbreaker inspired rocker after another, which to me is not plagiarism but something quite enjoyable. It’s been long enough since Jawbreaker broke up for me to not feel betrayal at the hands of Audio Karate for so blatantly stealing their shtick. I highly recommend this one to fans of the heavier side of melodic post-punk (a.k.a. “emo”).