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Audio Karate
"Lady Melody"
by: Sun-J

Well I'm glad these kids have finally grown out of Space Camp. Get it? Didn't think so. We'll my oblivious readers (when I say 'my' and 'readers,' of course I am referring to the three people out there) let me introduce the band Audio Karate. The California quartet of bassist Justo Gonzalez, drummer Gabriel Camacho, lead guitarist Jason Camacho, and rhythm guitarist/lead singer Arturo Barrios. Their freshman release Space Camp four years ago was filled with emo-ish bellows, and every song was packaged with a poppy chorus. Nonetheless, at the time, I was feeling the Hispanic quadruple. Since the 2000 release, Space Camp, this "fantastic four" have discovered "the thing" (oh man, am I good with this word play or what?) I like to call 'groturity.' Basically it's a made up word meaning growth and maturity.

Their sophomore release four years later, Lady Melody is filled with influences outside of the punk genre. Most importantly has been the 'groturity' of lead singer Jason Camacho. His "new found" style now mimicks the "glory" (ok, that was the last one, I promise!) of Cursive lead singer Tim Kasher. Have no fear though, this album may be the Mike Tyson knockout of the year, but Audio Karate are no "biters." (that's it for word play, no more, this time I'm serious, I swear.) Though their new sound has many outside influencessimilar to cursive. Jason still comes with the humorous vocals, "...so baby come back to me, and we'll sleep, I'll admit the things you want me to, I wont f***K the girls I wanted too..." Simple, yet genius, sort of like Blink 182's Dude Ranch. It's hard to explain the growth, but I can relate it to the difference between Brand New's Your Favorite Weapon, and Deja Entendu. Now before I start getting a million emails from you morons, let me clear something up right here. I am not saying Lady Melody is as good as Brand New; I am not even relating the two! In fact perhaps all this talk of 'groturity' is nothing more that luck. Maybe the band should have called this album Lady Luck. After all they struck gold when Bill Stevenson hopped on board, or should I say boards (this does not count as word play), to handle production. Stevenson was a big reason for the breakout success of Nitro's A Wilhelm Scream. If for some reason that doesn't convince you, check out his other work this year with Descendents and Silent Dive, though A Wilhelm Scream should be evidence enough.

"Ms. Foreign Friendly," and "A Whole Lotta Weight," are the only pure punk sounding tracks to me, everything else is filled with rock influences. The opening track, "Jesus is Alive and Well (And Living In Mexico)" is filled with awesome guitar riffs simultaneously growling over a dividing bassline and thumping drums. "Hey Maria," will definitely get the ladies out of their squirrel covers with Jason's passionate vocals. "Catch and Release" is the closest instrumentally close comparison to Cursive while "Gypsyqueen" runs off with the best track award. Jason Camacho's solo after the first verse is so sick, I almost sent him a get well card. The title track ironically is very melodic, and "Aim to Please," will keep you amped through the inebriated night. The strongest progression among the band is not Jason Camcho's new vocal stylings but rather bassist Justo Gonzalez's greater contribution to the band. His bass can be distinctly heard on almost all tracks and really drives the direction of the song. Continuing with the Brand New theme, both Johnny Colt (Brand New Bassist) and Justo Gonzalez both have upped the ante on their band's success by dishing out head bobbing chord tones. Not many bands these days have enigmatic bassists who can dominate a whole track like these two can. Furthermore, Lady Melody is forty minutes of superb music. I strongly suggest you kids purchase this one instead of downloading it. The CD is actually an enhanced CD and is filled with gnarly behind the scenes footage as well as two kick ass music videos.


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