Kooky Spooky In Stereo
Twenty four years is a long time to make a living dancing on stage sweating like a superhero wannabe. But that’s the essence of The Aquabats! (Note the exclamation point, it’s part of their legal name.) They don’t release much material, but what they do release is excellent quality ska-punk-new wave happy time music. This disk hits a pile of entertainment tropes form Kung Fu to teenage isolation, and The Aquabats! don’t take themselves too seriously. The aim here is high energy fun.
We blast out the gate with “Karatay Body” and its lead-in “Stand Back! Man! I don’t want to hurt you! TOO much!” It takes us back to those childhood days when karate was a mysterious power Bruce Lee used when 12 bad guys surrounded him. James West (of The Wild, Wild West) could take on dozens so bad guys so long as they politely tackle him one by one. But An Aquabats…well, Power Hands and whoosh woosh sounds and a Thunder foot get their job done. After slapping the bad guys, The Aquabats! Relax by doing nothing “No One Wants to Party” and then they freak out when a skeleton keeps them awake (Pajamazon). It’s an interesting life style. .
Sonically, there’s ska energy, some decent drumming and a driving desire to take modern musical ideas and re-upholster them right on the line between Dr. Demento and actually mainstream radio air play. “Bed Head” pics up that classic beat with an almost Baxendale hook. These guys never disappoint, and they offer 11 tracks here, each a gem in its own light. They even sneak in a surprise track at the end that shows those masked musicians showing how they handle comedy Hip Hop with “There’s a yard sale at the Cracker Barrel.” Just go with it, it makes more sense as an audio gag. And as to this album: Highly recommended!