The Aquabats! | Hi-Five Soup! (Fearless)

Working with kids must have gotten to him, because Hi-Five Soup! seems to cross the line from all-ages party music into full-fledged kids album.
 

 

 

The Aquabats! have been around for a long time. Formed in 1994, the synth-pop ska group from Orange County, California has gone through line-up and label changes, but has been consistent in delighting fans of all ages with their ridiculous, positive music. Six years after the release of Charge!!, The Aquabats! have released their sixth album, Hi-Five Soup!

In addition to heading the band of musical superheroes, front man Christian “MC Bat Commander” Jacobs co-writes and directs the kids show Yo Gabba Gabba! (interesting, considering the song “Idiot Box” from their 1994 release The Return of The Aquabats). Working with kids must have gotten to him, because Hi-Five Soup! seems to cross the line from all-ages party music into full-fledged kids album.

The exclamation-point-happy group successfully experiments with reggae in their first single “Radio Down!” featuring Biz Markie, and “In My Dreams!” takes you back to the old dance halls of Jamaica. Unfortunately, their experiments with kid-friendly rap on “B.F.F.!” and “My Homies!” did not turn out as well. “B.F.F.!” uses children’s gang vocals and autotune to rap about big friends, and the lyrics of “My Homies!” are almost painful—“We don’t need no thugs/unless those thugs/is giving out hugs.” A far cry from fighting the supervillains of old.

That said, synthy tracks “Shark Fighter!” and “The Legend Is True!” are more reminiscent of Charge!! “Pink Pants!” (featuring Strong Bad from Homestar Runner) also recalls the old Aquabats! style, but the three tracks aren’t particularly original. The most infectious, delightfully poppy song on the album, however, would have to be “Poppin’ A Wheelie!,” which is about exactly what it sounds like.

As a long-time Aquabats! fan, it pains me to be critical of them. Hi-Five Soup! marks an evolution of the group’s sound; without a dedicated horn section, they’ve moved away from their ska roots. No longer singing about epic tales of adventure their lyrics are now solely about the mundane. The album has more hits than misses, and overall it still sounds like The Aquabats!, but even the catchy, fun songs are forgettable. Regrettably, it seems to be made more for actual children than for listeners who are just children at heart. | Eva Connors

RIYL: Reel Big Fish, Yo Gabba Gabba!, next-level nonsense

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply