Karate High School


Written by: PP on 28/05/2009 16:13:01

Pretty much since their inception, Karate High School have been playing music dubbed simply as 'arcade rock', a brand of pop-hardcore that utilizes keyboard sounds from arcade games of the 80s. Sharp readers might immediately think of Nintendo-core, but although Karate High School belonged to that special genre on their debut album, they've since dropped those sounds in favour of basic arcade ones on their third album "Invaders". If you're unfamiliar with the band, then I suppose I could compare them to A Day To Remember. Both bands share a simultaneous love for pop punk and hardcore, seamlessly combining the genres with added breakdowns and sparingly used screamed vocals on top.

Opening track "Zombies Everywhere" opens with an unusually grandiose chorus for Karate High School. It's well suited for tricking the listener into thinking Karate High School have evolved into a more epic sound. Fortunately this is not the case though, as subsequent songs are all about the reasonably high-octane pace, funky keyboard melodies, gang shout backed choruses, and bouncy rhythms all around. It's safe to say that the band haven't progressed at all musically from the pop-hardcore platform, they're still playing the same light-hearted, funny stuff as they were on their debut and sophomore albums. At the same time, the songs on "Invaders" showcase a band that has improved significantly in the songwriting department while keeping their sound undeniably Karate High School - the tracks are all monster-catchy after just one or two listens. "One Trip Around The Sun", "Punk Rock Uniform", "Fell In Love With A Robot", "Under The Microscope", and "Out On The Street" are all among the best songs this band has written to date.

One thing's that's different is that the band have become even more unserious lyrics-wise (if that was even possible). This time the songs deal with falling in love with custom-made robots, fighting zombies who eat your loved ones away (The Wonder Years reference anyone?), having alien babies, taking ninja throwing stars out of your pocket...I don't think I need to continue, you get my point. The focus is clearly on having fun with artistic completeness coming as a distant second. That's ultimately the biggest stepping stone one has to endure before liking "Invaders" - is it too unserious at times and therefore forgettable? For me, that may just be the case, as all too often I find myself annoyed at their otherwise super-catchy harmonies.

Download: Fell In Love With A Robot, Under The Microscope, One Trip Around The Sun
For the fans of: A Day To Remember, Four Year Strong, The Wonder Years
Listen: Myspace

Release date 19.05.2009
Eyeball Records

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