"Now... stand back, for your own safety!"
The Aquabats are back to save the world again with their blend of listener-friendly ska/pop-punk and rubber super hero costumes! I had my doubts at whether The Aquabats would release an album as good as The Fury Of The Aquabats
or Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures Vol. 2
again, after their disappointing 2004 release Yo, Check Out This Ride EP
. But here they are, with their first full-length album in 5 years!
begins with "Fashion Zombies", the single, and rightfully so. It's got 'catchy radio-hit' written all over it, with typical Aquabats style vocals, "woah's", and a theme any nerd-rocker would be proud of. Catchy keyboard harmonies blend with their pounding guitar riffs perfectly, and the little monologue in the bridge it brilliant. "Stuck In A Movie" feels a lot more laid-back and typical medium-paced Aquabats stuff. The use of keyboards is as noticeable as ever, and their high guitar melodies shows this band has grown up after a poor EP. With a chorus worthy of being chanted at gigs over and over, this is another hit for the band.
"Tiger Rider Vs. The Time Sprinkler" is similar to what we've already heard, but feels slower, and the regular breaks in music with just drums makes this slightly different, yet keeping to their keyboard-ska style. The breakdown is also quite cool, with a darker melody adding to the eerie vibe, almost like a horror b-movie. "Nerd Alert" has a retro feel to it, with a synth melody that could easily fit a NES game soundtrack. Combine this with a pop-punk guitar riff and low yet loveable vocals, and you have another outstanding track for the nerd-rockers.
We follow up with "Plastic Lips", another poppy keyboard-based anthem for the summer. It doesn't really add much to the 'Bat's musical style, but the catchy feel and "woah's" make this another fun track to listen to. "Look At Me, I'm A Winner" feels more like Bowling For Soup with a keyboard, something of an insult I might say. Yet their radio-friendly and fun-packed musical style mixes with their memorable chorus' and riffs so well, it's hard not to like it.
"Hot Summer Nights (Won't Last Forever)" might be the funniest track on the album, about a girl who is desperately trying to escape a guy who is obsessed with her. She then says she moves to Alaska, and he meets her "twin sister" at a party. Pure 80's style pop combined with their keyboard melodies makes this the gem of the album. You'll be singing "I'm gonna miss you, I'm gonna miss you so!" during the chorus' in no time. "Meltdown" quickly bursts out afterwards, with one of the fastest intros on the album. It's quiet and almost unfinished vibe works well, and emphasizes the vocals and lyrics more again. Another hit in the making for the 'Bats.
"Mechanical Ape" begins with a funky intro, with more simple words you'll be humming. It's driving basslines and drum beats outstand the chord progression on guitar, which sounds fun anyway. Maybe not the best track on the album, but it's packed with catchy lyrics and music to bob along to. "Demolition Rickshaw" has a more darker feel to it, utilizing the keyboard effects perfectly. Once again, it has that 50's style horror movie soundtrack vibe, and it fits the band's personna like a glove.
One track away fromt he end, and the album gets a bit more downbeat. "Waterslides" has those guitar melodies that practically make The Aquabats, but it's slow tempo and rolling drum beats make this a bit more wavey and harder to get into that the other track. The vocals stand out by far, with an echoing feel to them in places. The album caps off with "Awesome Forces", with a much faster pace and punky rhythms against a polyphonic ringtone-sounding keyboard melody. It's a great finish to the album, with an Irish-vibe to it. This Flogging Molly, but with keyboards and MC Bat Commander as their singer.
is certainly a breath of fresh air in the pop-punk scene, with fewer bands pulling out fun tunes every year. It may have taken 5 years to release, but The Aquabat's transition to a new-wave/pop-punk band has been a successful one. They wear their thick-rimmed glasses on their sleeves, and are not afraid to show off their nerdy lifestyle in their lyrics and songwriting. Maybe that's why we love them so much, or maybe it's because they make some of the funniest and catchiest tunes in the pop-punk world. Nevertheless, the fivesome do not disappoint with this latest offering, and make a welcome return to the pop-punk scene.