The Aquabats - Charge!!
Release Date: June 7th, 2005
Record Label: Nitro Records
I have to admit, before ever listening to anything off this record, I had many doubts as to whether or not The Aquabats could ever put out another amazing album again, what with the loss of their horn section and all. Charge! took these doubts, crushed them into tiny pieces, and left me feeling pretty damn good about the way I had spent my time listening to this record. The Bats are back, and fans are likely not to be dissapointed. Hell, this sucker has major potentional to strengthen the bands fanbase, and hit the CD players of rock 'n' roll nerds alike.
"Fashion Zombies!" opens the album, and in my mind the perfect opening track for the album. It combines the power of The Aquabats, all the while incorporating catchy keyboard harmonies in a song you'll have the urge to sing along to. "Fashion Zombies!" alone confirms that the Bats are progressing in their own unique way, regardless of what's going on in the rest of the music industry. "Stuck in a Movie!" is an excellent representation of the direction these guys are moving in, as it showcases the bands harder, intense edge with a chorus fit for chanting. "Tiger Rider vs. the Time Sprinkler!", although it sounds similar to what we've already this early in the album, is another worthy, fairly impressive listen. The second the albums fifth track, "Nerd Alert!", hit my ears, I was sure I had left my Nintendo running with the Super Mario theme song blasting through my living room. Was I right? Nope, it turned out to be just another interesting frenzy of synth and infectious (I dare you to try and tell me you haven't had the Super Mario theme song stuck in your head before) melodies from your lovable Bats. In my opinion, it would be a wise choice to spin this track before anything else, as I find it to be the catchiest, most worthwhile listen you'll come across throughout the course of this release. "Plastic Lips!", on the other hand, sounds almost exactly like every song we've heard already on Charge! Again, although it isn't a bad listen on it's own, it doesn't really provide enough of anything new to keep the listener entertained through the three minutes and twenty-two seconds of it's running time. "Look At Me, I'm A Winner!" is a punchy tune with, dare I say it, a radio-friendly vibe, and including possibly the catchiest chorus on Charge!! "Hot Summer Nights (Won't Last Forever)!" sounds reminiscent of the Beach Boys meets those friendly 80's rock bands. I think I might even go out on a limb right here and say that this track alone will drag in some new fans who have never had the pleasure of experiencing the Bats before (and if not, well it's an interesting story song anyways). "Demolition Rickshaw!" once again incorporates Jimmy The Robot's soothing keyboard work in the midst of yet another frantic explosion from The Aquabats. "Awesome Forces!", the last track on Charge!!, bursts in and sort of leads you to believe you're listening to a rowdy celtic punk band, but never fear, the MC Bat Commander drags us back into Aquabeat land in less than twenty seconds.
Basically, when it all boils down to it, you're either a fan of The Aquabats and what they have to offer or you're not. Charge! is an impressive listen that i'd reccomend to fans of past releases from the Bats, as well as rock fans (and Star Wars collecter nerds) who haven't heard them before. This is nerd-core at it's finest, take it or leave it. On some tracks they hit the nail on the head, while in other they've slipped and hit their finger, but overall, the fury is back and it's harder, wackier, and more appealing than ever before.