Punknews.org
The Aquabats - Charge!! (Cover Artwork)

The Aquabats

The Aquabats: Charge!!Charge!! (2005)
Nitro Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: JesseJesse
(others by this writer | submit your own)

If someone would have told me five years ago that the Aquabats were going to become a new-wave/punk band, I would have laughed in their face. Sure, musically, the transition might have seemed plausible, but when it comes down to it, my favorite goofy ska band was just that: A goofy ska band. Now, I'.
iTunes StoreAmazon


If someone would have told me five years ago that the Aquabats were going to become a new-wave/punk band, I would have laughed in their face. Sure, musically, the transition might have seemed plausible, but when it comes down to it, my favorite goofy ska band was just that: A goofy ska band. Now, I've owned and loved Fury Of The Aquabats for a long time. Midget pirates, lobsters in buckets, nerd anthems. Skateboarding and broken hearts. Red sweaters and chicken. A fight song! But the Aquabats were always unabashedly a gimmick band; they wear superhero outfits, they sang silly songs, and the music was simple and fun.

But Charge!! brings something new. The songwriting takes a drastic turn -- not only stylistically, but if you weren't paying attention, you wouldn't be able to tell that this was a costume-wearing superhero outfit. Musically, they're not 100% jokes anymore. And I don't know how I feel about that.

"Fashion Zombies!" has a great Misfits-esque "Whooaaa" bridge. In fact, the group vocals tend to play up a lot on this release. It's easy to see how this fits in with the rest of what Nitro has released. There is a huge 80's influence, there is a huge California influence, there is a huge punk influence. And somehow it all blends into an album that isn't too far removed from pop-punk. "Look At Me, I'm A Winner!" has lines like "four radios blasting classic rock" and huge, 80's classic rock throwback guitar riffs. "Hot Summer Nights (Won't Last Forever)!" could be the twin to "Red Sweater" musically and lyrically, though imagine if the upstroke guitars were erased, and the chorus was written by Big Country. "Mechanical Ape" has a great intro and rocksteady style guitars backing an upbeat drum and bass-driving piece. Plus, it's about a mechanical ape. It makes me feel like the Aquabats I grew up loving are still around.

This album is definitely a tricky one. How did it get so catchy? How is it still fun without the ska? Why do I still like this? I guess as long as the Aquabats are around, I won't be able to escape their siren song of goofiness. Strictly for the music, this album has the catchiest damn hooks I've heard in a long time. It's poppy as hell, and it definitely shows the progression of the band. You really are going to be missing out on a lot if you let this pass by you. The Aquabats have always succeeded in making music fun, and if you miss the ska too much, you can revel in "Waterslides!," which brings a two-tone feel to the album.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Aquabats - The Fury Of...Against Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyNOFX - The DeclineAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseBouncing Souls - The Gold RecordDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeThe Clash - London CallingTeenage Bottlerocket - Total

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
neffernin (June 6, 2007)

Please, stand back, for your own safety!

I think this is the most solid of the aquabats releases, even though I don't know if I would go as far as calling it my favorite album by them. Lyrically they have come a very very far way and while they have ditched the horns (Don't worry cadets, their keyboardist also plays the sax at their live shows still!) they haven't really deviated that far from their previous sound. The new-wave style they have can be seen in their previous albums just not nearly as prevalent as in this album (instead of 1-2 songs with that sound, the WHOLE ALBUM has it). This is not a bad thing though, from beginning to the end this album is another glorious conquest for everyone's favorite musical superheroes!

stf (April 7, 2006)

No ska!

This cd sucks!

Who are the Aquabats to have fun and entertain us?!

They're (now) five guys who dress up in goofy, randomly changing colored outfits and drive to have fun shows for kids to go and have a good time. You should never limit the Aquabats to being ska. The Aquabats will always be goofy and fun, and that's ok in my book.

Anonymous (March 17, 2006)

The Aquabats - Charge!!
Posted by Anonymous on 2005-06-21 08:54:43

Wow, what a breath of fresh air. I picked this up Saturday and it was well worth the 12 bucks at best buy. The songs are well written and VERY much in the vein of Devo and Oingo Boingo (much more so then anything else they have released). It's nice to see them evolving over the years instead of trying the same thing over and over again (hint hint NUFAN).

Haha, wow... that was about the stupidest post ever.... because we all know that Incognito, Leche Con Carne and Keep them Confused styilistically and lyrically are completely idenctical. You wanker.

Anonymous (July 13, 2005)

i got cards 5 and 6. i really like nerd alert so that is good one to have.

tommy_jarvis (June 27, 2005)

oops, I meant the girl answering the phone!

tommy_jarvis (June 27, 2005)

After listening to it all weekend, I have decided that Charge! is nearly a classic. The only mistake was using "Francine" instead of "Eliza" for the identicle cousin

benz (June 26, 2005)

I think we need to focus less one what it is or isn't, other than a really good cd. Who cares if there are less horns, when it still sounds like the Aquabats. This is one of their best CDs, not better than The Fury of the Aquabats, but better than everything inbetween.

-benz

Jesse (June 26, 2005)

I didn't get trading cards with the promo copy. Stupid Nitro...

CoD (June 26, 2005)

Only two of them are Mormon.

elliot (June 24, 2005)

this cd was tricky not to like, thats why i like'd it!!! gr8 cd???

tommy_jarvis (June 24, 2005)

One more thing.

I would like to stand up and say that I love Tiny Pants. To imagine grown Mormon men playing a song like this makes me one of the most amused kids on the block.

That's all.
bye for now

tommy_jarvis (June 24, 2005)

I don't know about this yet. Give it a month, and we'll see.

On another note, I received trading cards #7 and #10. Which ones did you get? I really wanted the ones for Fashion Zombies and Awesome Forces, but we never get what we really want, now do we?

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

When are these guys gonna hang it up? I hope soon

Anonymous (June 23, 2005)

i love weed

chokingvictim (June 23, 2005)

"I just wanted you to come over,
sit on my couch and hold me tight.
But you went out with some dumb jock,
and left me alone with my skateboard tonight!"

To say this band is a bit odd would be an understatement, but My Skateboard! is classic.

Anonymous (June 23, 2005)

Fucking best cover art, ever.

stevejonestherealbones (June 23, 2005)

hhaha. thanks for sharing!

- jtheb

Anonymous (June 22, 2005)

Jesse, thanks for this review. I had not really considered getting this... I had kinda given up on them sadly. But you saved me! I will need to get this, especially since I'm back on a big Devo kick right now. Not suprising that they are going in a Devo direction, after all: "Devo was my favorite band, take me back to my happy land... HEY!" Booya.
-Greg

EMOHOLOCAUST (June 22, 2005)

whoa!!!1111
theyre on Nitro now..these guys must be desperate for quick cash,,

punkindrublic696 (June 22, 2005)

this cd gets better with each lesson, and although i doubt that will last long, i cant see the case getting dusty any time soon

TheNightProwler (June 22, 2005)

About the trend hopping comments, I think it's really great when bands try to expand their realms and don't just put out the same stuff over and over again. Props, Aquabats!

I believe there's a big damned if you do, damned if you don't point right there. You can either re-mold your sound, add new elements, try new things, and overall take a foreward progress as a band (insert whatever band here that people bitch about for having their new record not sound like their first record), or you can make the same record over and over again (Pennywise) and either way people will bitch about it.

My conclusion, people are stupid and don't even know what they want from the bands they like.

sickboi (June 22, 2005)

OK Jonesy, but only because I love you in a purely non-platonic way....

So, I went to see Goldfinger in 1997. You know, when they were tolerable? And the Aquabats were opening, yet I had never heard of them, let alone SEEN them. So before the show, I'm walking around the club, looking for my friend, unable to locate him. I walk outside, to the back of the club, and see a van. Suddenly, the door opens, smoke billows out, and my friend sorta staggers out. Then all these dudes in blue superhero outfits climb out. My first exposure to the Aquabats.

Anonymous (June 22, 2005)

Someone needs to review vs the Floating Eye so it gets some exposure on this site, at least. If I had recently listened to the whole thing or if I was better at writing reviews then I'd do it. I'm not sure how that album has slipped under the radar so well, considering it wasn't exactly a low key release at the time.

As far as Charge! goes, I still need to pick it up. The tracks I've heard have been really good.

stevejonestherealbones (June 22, 2005)

hey sickboi

share man...share

- jones the bones

- tell your aquabat story

Anonymous (June 22, 2005)

the berlin project cover of gin and juice was good... thats it.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

http://www.bananaguard.com/

8dollarclarinetsolo (June 21, 2005)

this record is awesome. hot summer nights is one of the best songs of this summer

davebrave4 (June 21, 2005)

I'll say it straight up: this is my first Aquabats album ever. In fact, and I know it's sad, but I probably still wouldn't know about them if Travis Barker wasn't part of the band for a little while. This said, this is a really great album. I love all the songs, and they all stand out and don't blend into each other. About the trend hopping comments, I think it's really great when bands try to expand their realms and don't just put out the same stuff over and over again. Props, Aquabats!

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

"I should clarify "new wave." When I say new wave, I mean Oingo Boingo or Devo. I'm not referring to horrible modern rip-offs of New Order. That's something completely different. In no way is this hopping a trend, in fact, this record is so untrendy that it hurts."

Still doesn't excuse the fact that your forgot about the Floating Eye.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

I gotta cop this.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

"Ska bands trying to expand their realms. As sad as it is, nobody takes them seriously. Musical expansion is something everyone wants to do, but if a ska band does it(face it, there isn't much inovative you can do with that genre) they are a joke. Case in Point: The Berlin Project"

the berlin project sucks. case in point: you listen to them.

stevejonestherealbones (June 21, 2005)

not gay

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

"Ska bands trying to expand their realms. As sad as it is, nobody takes them seriously. Musical expansion is something everyone wants to do, but if a ska band does it(face it, there isn't much inovative you can do with that genre) they are a joke. Case in Point: The Berlin Project"

you obviously are not familiar with the aquabats. its ridiculous when people who only know the fury comment on how much the bats have changed their sound

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

Ska bands trying to expand their realms. As sad as it is, nobody takes them seriously. Musical expansion is something everyone wants to do, but if a ska band does it(face it, there isn't much inovative you can do with that genre) they are a joke. Case in Point: The Berlin Project

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

I never really saw this band as overly ska either, but they're still really good. This isn't their best album, but its enjoyable and pretty funny too.

Joe

mjg (June 21, 2005)

i'm so glad this band is back

Medley (June 21, 2005)

Really solid album. It doesn't have the single best Aquabats songs (most of those I'd say come from Fury and Myths, Legends) but what it does have is consistency. Until now each Aquabats release has had at least one or two songs a little too silly or straight-up strange (Tiny Pants comes to mind). On flipside, there's less variety (I'd say Myths, Legends does best in that category). Overall though, there isn't one bad song on Charge, and at 12 tracks the album ends before it gets tiring.
With the new album and the new label and ambitious touring they seem to be a revitalized band. Hopefully that means we won't be waiting another 4 years for their next full-length.

pwfanatic (June 21, 2005)

no.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

Anyone who thinks "The Thing In The Bass Amp" is a ska song is a fucking moron.

There is no ska on The Floating Eye. There were two ska songs on Myths Legends. The Aquabats were never a complete ska band, anyway.

Hahahah...fucking morons....

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

"look at me im a winner" = Cheap Trick
Charge! = Best Aquabats album yet.

rkl (June 21, 2005)

who wants to send me this? im really poor for the next 4 months.

sickboi (June 21, 2005)

I did a review for this too, but Jesse's is better, so I withdrew. I do have a really funny Aquabats story though, maybe I'll share it sometime.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

Myths and Legends was a good release.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

Wow, what a breath of fresh air. I picked this up Saturday and it was well worth the 12 bucks at best buy. The songs are well written and VERY much in the vein of Devo and Oingo Boingo (much more so then anything else they have released). It's nice to see them evolving over the years instead of trying the same thing over and over again (hint hint NUFAN).

jamespastepunk (June 21, 2005)

Should i go see these guys with the Epoxies?

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

if you like devo i like you

Jesse (June 21, 2005)

I should clarify "new wave." When I say new wave, I mean Oingo Boingo or Devo. I'm not referring to horrible modern rip-offs of New Order. That's something completely different. In no way is this hopping a trend, in fact, this record is so untrendy that it hurts.

wannabepunktony (June 21, 2005)

God damn this album is good! And for those of you who have still not seen them live, now would be the perfect time, since they are out on the road touring for this CD right now! ^_^

joeg (June 21, 2005)

dicky barrett has been playing their new single a lot lately. i like it. i'm gonna pick it up pick it up pick it up.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

Why does everyone forget about Vs. The Floating Eye? This CD shouldn't be much of a surprise. Its a damn fun CD from a damn fun band. All of you should go see them on tour.

"Demolition Rickshaw!" is the best song on the album.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

"okay pussyfoot, MAYBE you're right. but this is punknews damnit, and if you don't have anything negative to say, don't say it at all."

fine. fuck this band..theyre all a bunch of pussies anyway

- pussyfoot

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

"The horns on Floating Eye were practically non-existent. The only ska song on that album was "The Thing in the Bass Amp."

-Chinatown"

thats kinda my point.

- pussyfoot

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

I'll second the comment made before about the Floating Eye of Death. People act like that album never existed, including this reviewer. That record was way more new wave than ska and it was written in freakin' 1999, for crying out loud.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

The horns on Floating Eye were practically non-existent. The only ska song on that album was "The Thing in the Bass Amp."

-Chinatown

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

okay pussyfoot, MAYBE you're right. but this is punknews damnit, and if you don't have anything negative to say, don't say it at all.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

wait...this band did not trend jump at all...

this is not at all like the killers or any of that stuff. this is basically what you would expect from the aquabats without horns...have none of you heard Vs. the Floating eye of death? that was released in 99 and take the horns out of that album and you are pretty close to the style of this one...

- pussyfoot

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

nothing like a ska band playing new wave

trend jumping is fucking rad

- the other scott

(and yeah, these guys were never that great)

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

FUCK this band.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

it really isnt THAT big of a change from their sound. its really very fun though. cant help but smile. and meltdown is an awesome song

- pussyfoot

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

When a band totally changes their sound they should totally change their name too.

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

These guys need some new cadets. Preferably ones that know how to play some brass.

This album's really not that great.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (June 21, 2005)

One word;

NOOOOOOOOOOOO

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go