Thursday, December 14, 2017

Audio Karate Space Camp (2002) Review

Audio Karate "Space Camp" (2002) LP Cover
The last show I booked when I had a record company in 2001 featured the line up of The Discarded, Audio Karate, Rudiger, and Engraved. It was held at Chain Reaction in Anaheim California, and none of my friends went. I had to beg my mom to drive me, and had to leave one of the members of Engraved in charge of the show. For the night’s work, and crowd that basically all left after Audio Karate finished playing, I made a whopping eighty-four dollars. The Discarded went on last, and there was only 3 people in the audience.

The Discarded, I had hoped would sell out Chain Reaction, really put on a terrible showcase, yet they released a vinyl 7-inch record of the live performance, and despite my lack of understanding and precision as well as business acumen, the band went on to do a lot of great things without any influence from me. However, I did manage to book them to a very large audience at Reject 37 Fest, but hey, that’s just me bragging about nothing. At the show, I found Audio Karate, and immediately loved their work. I picked up their record in the summer of 2002, their debut for Kung Fu Records, which was released on May 14, 2002. Their debut was called “Space Camp”.

An All Mexican Punk Band

One of the interesting things that attracted me to the band was that the members were all Mexican. I was a Mexican punk living on the west coast of California, and didn’t have any Latino friends that were into punk rock or any heavy music. So, I had to just enjoy this. I recall when I first got “Space Camp”, I introduced it to my friend and his girlfriend, a girl that I personally asked out first, but hey, that’s old news, right? They are happy together, I’m sure. Either way, I brought the CD and they didn’t seem to really like it, and I know why. Audio Karate’s debut record isn’t heavy on the bass guitar, it’s got a lot of treble, and the vocals shine above the rest. The guitar work is good, the bass playing is great, and the drumming of course showcases a mix of punk rock and other elements. However, you’re going to find that it’s not resonant as a lot of other bands from the time.

A High School Diatribe

The lyrical content of “Space Camp” is akin to a high school journal. All of the lyrics and songs speak to life as a teenager, and someone that is in high school, which isn’t a bad thing. Mxpx did the same thing with “Life in General”, which is a great record too. But while Mxpx has a deeper balance between bass and treble, Audio Karate is a much different pop punk outfit. You’ll find that this is a good record, mind you, it just doesn’t have that deep resonating element that was commonplace within the line up of Kung Fu Records in the early 2000s.

Forty Minutes of Pop Punk Goodness

This is a stellar debut, with 12 tracks that just work well together. The tracks that really stand out on “Space Camp” include “Drama Club Romance”, “Nintendo 89”, “One Day”, “Senior Year”, “Hello St. Louis”, and “Jason”, just to name a few. This is a great overall starting line for those that haven’t heard of Audio Karate. It’s a good record from Kung Fu Records and something that really points towards my past, as I graduated high school and started a lonely walk towards a life away from the friends I had in high school. It was a weird time for me, and this record reminds me of those times. Arturo Barrios’ lyrical elements relate to me today, as much as they did back then.

I give Audio Karate “Space Camp” a 4 out of 5.

Yes, this record gets another great score from me. I am not going to put out bad reviews often, because I love all of the records that I purchase. Whatever the case is, "Space Camp" is a great punk rock album with a lot of upside. It’s going to speak to your angst, and will remind you of high school and more. It’s a solid punk rock gem from the 2000s.

You can buy Audio Karate “Space Camp”, and see what it was like to be a teenager in southern California, etc. You can click here to pick it up.

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