Review Summary: Energetic B-Sides From Our Favorite Superband
The Aquabats - Myths, Legends and Other Amazing Adventures
While everbody's favorite group of superbuddies, The Aquabats, are original and great in many ways - great songs, superhero mythos, great camaraderie with the fans - they're certainly not prolific. In a decade of recording, the band has released a total of four records and one EP. Not a terrible record, certainly, unless you consider that all of these records (except the not-so-great EP) were recorded within four years of each other!
This most recent release, 'Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures", is, of all things, a B-Sides record. So the gap between The Aquabats' last 'real" release, 'The Aquabats Vs. the Floating Eye of Death!" and their upcoming CD (details to be announced very soon - early summer '05 release planned) will be a full six years!
Like most B-Sides, 'Myths, Legends. . ." features some of the more obscure and/or wacky songs by the band. Very experimental and (even by The Aquabats' standards) strange, the songs on this record range from the average (although none are downright mediocre) to some of the best work released by the band. In a nutshell, this record is required buying for fans of the 'Bats. However, newbies may wish to start with one of their earlier releases. (I should note that the instrumentation throughout the record is a little odd - the trumpets and guitars of previous Aquabats releases are still therem of course, but a synthesizer fills much of the background music.)
The songs on this record ditch the superhero theme unifying the rest of The Aquabats' work; for example, great songs like 'Hey Luno" and 'Pizza Day" feature down-to-earth nostalgic odes to childhood. That's not to say that the fantastic element of the 'Bats work is completely absent from this release - songs like 'Radiation Song", 'The Baker" and 'Sandy Face" are among the more imaginative, eclectic songs ever recorded by the band.
This record also features an extremely humorous vein running through its tunage; standout track 'I Fell Asleep On My Arm" manages to hilariously lampoon the misplaced rage of heavy metal acts (ranging from the rapidly-fading Limp Bizkit to Kid Rock to Korn), while 'Sandy Face" features some of the campiest, whitest rapping ever pressed to disc. The energy level remains high throughout the record, even if the songs don't always live up to the band's previous work (two songs in particular are downright boring to me - a first for a record by The Aquabats).
Overall, this release is a great tour of the band's evolution; many of the songs on this CD have been in existence, at one level or another, for years and years. Anyway, we don't see many bands this original and lighthearted as The Aquabats - buy this album to support our favorite musical superheroes!
NOTE: These aren't even all of the band's strangest B-Sides. Check out the 'Myths, Legends. . ." portion of their site for even more unreleased B-Sides in mp3 format, plus information and history about all of the songs on this release:
Robot Theme Song:
This very short album-opener is a complete instrumental; it sounds as if it were recorded on a Clavinova (Moog Synthesizer, actually). In fact, I think I could recreate this song fairly easily on our little CVP-107 digital piano. It's basically filler, but it's pleasant enough.
The first 'nostalgia" song on the record, this song is about, of all things, a flying cartoon pegasus named Luno. On this old Terrytoons show, this little boy would call Luno down to take him away from the tedium of his everyday life. A nice song about imagination and keeping your youth.
'Then you'll see how fun it is; that flying horse is true! And you're stuck in a world with people just as sad as you. . ."
This is a very popular song, but I find it fairly shallow. It's a very California song - parties, barbecues and social cliques. Maybe that's why I don't like it as much as some people - I hate the California culture and its recent musical deluge on the unsuspecting ears of the teenage populace. This song has been in the making for years; the band made a running joke of the fact that they never seemed to get around to recording it before.
This, my favorite song on the record, is a sort of ode to childhood through lunch. The whole song uses school lunch as a sort of metaphor for life - as our protagonist ages, he finds himself longing for a time when 'Friday was pizza day", which was, of course, 'the best day of the week". And, I should add, it's a truly inspiring sight in concert - five hundred Aquacadets all yelling the lyrics in unison. Great fun live or on CD.
The second lackluster song on the record, 'Dear Spike" is a very strange song. The song, about a mix-up with The Aquabats' merch shop, resulting in late deliveries, seems a little, well. . . boring to me. It's a decent song, I suppose, but on the lower echelon of the 'Bats work.
I Fell Asleep On My Arm:
Ahh. . . this is more like it. This song never fails to amuse me, even though most of the bands the song makes fun of (especially Ibis and Rage Against the Machine) have long since faded away (well, maybe not RATM). This song essentially mocks the poseur heavy-metal tendency of blowing things to insane proportions; the song, about the ragings of a man with a numbed arm, is a great showpiece. All things considered, this song mimics Fred Durst and Zack de la Rocha so perfectly it's impossible to hate it. A minute of white rap ('Boom da bop diggy" style, a la Kid Rock) seal the deal.
Sort of a 'Sesame-Streetish" song (plus some dancing zombies and post-apocalyptic lyrics), 'Radiation Song" is a very bouncy song, despite being very grim - sort of a more upbeat 'Chemical Bomb". The interlude, featuring Benji the Tap-Dancing Mutant Boy, may be too weird for some, but it's endearing to see such a unique song. Go, Benji, go!
This song is so upbeat and catchy it's impossible to hate it - sort of like hating a kid with cerebral palsy - even though the lyrics are simpler than ever. Very straight-up ska, this song is simultaneously a simple fireworks safety lesson and a call to 'remember what we've got before we open our big mouths / to complain about the things we cannot change."
A great, completely silly original song. 'The Baker" is anything but stereotypical - an extremely masculine singer who likens his life's work - baking - to gladitorial combat. Sort of tango-like, the song is hilarious and catchy; the weighty lyrics and David Bowie parody in the middle of the song are priceless.
This is a first - a The Aquabats song about another superhero! Danger Woman, whose apparent conflict is a vendetta against the WWF for unexplained reasons, is a fairly hysterical lady (check out the secret "track" at the end of the CD for more Danger Woman). This heavily sound-sampled song is a great rock piece. Speaking of which: is that an electronic harpsichord I hear" (This whole album is a little too synthesized.)
Worms Make Dirt:
A great, totally-fake science song. This song is so campy, so unabashedly silly and strange, that it's a golden classic of modern music. The music sounds like it came from Donkey Kong Country or something - it's that surreal. I wouldn't put this sort of thing past They Might Be Giants.
Check out the lyrics: [url]http://www.elyrics4u.com/w/worms_make_dirt_the_aquabats.htm[/url]
Sort of an intergalactic soap opera, Sandy Face makes absolutely no sense, but manages to retain a completely epic feel. The white rapping is campy and fantastic.
The Wild Sea:
This song, essentially the original version of 'Chemical Bomb" from The Aquabats Vs. the Floating Eye of Death, retains an adventurous charm. The 'Captain's Log" interlude in the middle of the song is clever, but I have to say I prefer Chemical Bomb. Still, it's a good, upbeat ending for the record.
Thank you for reading my review. Please vote if you liked it!
Contact the author of this review at firstname.lastname@example.org