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The Aquabats – Charge!!

You really have to love the Aquabats.

I mean, just try and say their name without giggling. Then picture a bunch of guys in spandex uniforms like a bunch of cartoon superheroes, playing 80s new wave-style rock flavored with a pinch of ska and all the insanity and none of the seriousness of the punk scene.


Their new album, CHARGE!, is like a Kevin Smith movie set to music, with their affection for comic images, costumes, and hyperbole, unabashed geekiness, and piercing wit mixed with juvenile humor.

Singer MC Bat Commander, like a cross between Danzig and Space Ghost, leads the trip through jibes at fashion punks, “plastic” girls, and pretty much everything else, while celebrating–what else?–nerds. He rhymes “burrito” with “neato,” turning what seems to be a typical juvenile pop-punk love song on its head with a conceit not exactly new, but still funny.

The title of each song ends with an exclamation point, and you can hear their enthusiasm, even if it is enthusiasm for nothing more than irreverence itself. A novelty act’s CD is worthless unless the music is good as well, and the Aquabats don’t disappoint there either. Sounds of Devo blend with vocals worthy of the cheesiest hair-metal band and the obligatory ska licks, creating music that not only makes you laugh, but has you turning the volume up louder.

Plus, if you’re not amused by songs about “the unbelievable mechanical ape,” you are just no fun. Irony is no rare thing these days, and bands with a schtick are a time a dozen, but as long as there are still redundant pop-punk-ska bands posturing and whining about being misunderstood, there will be a place in the world for the Aquabats.


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