Album Review: Audio Karate - Malo

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Wiretap Records




Bands come and go quickly; especially in the punk rock scene – that’s just a simple fact. But very few can continue to grow a strong following once removed from the scene the way that Audio Karate has. “Nintendo 89” from the debut album Space Camp put them on the map, their sophomore effort Lady Melody earned them international success, and then it was radio silent except for a few blips of new songs here or there before officially breaking up in 2008. But their break-up didn’t stop new fans from discovering their old music and falling in love with the band all over again, leading to the eventual re-release of Space Camp on vinyl last year (2018) and a 7-inch featuring two of the “lost songs” from the sessions that followed Lady Melody. With the official release of Malo (October 18, 2019), an 8-song collection of the rest of those “lost songs,” fans get to nostalgically travel back to 2007 and finally hear the lost Audio Karate album that only existed in bits and pieces before. After whetting our appetites via “Get Mendoza” and “Sin Cuchillo,” we quickly discover that those two songs were merely a small taste of the diversity of what was still to come. Whereas songs such as “Bounce” or “Saturday Night (You Ain’t Down Foo)” carry that familiar AK feel, it’s the songs such as the slower paced “Pardon Me” or “Room Down the Hallway” that give us a true taste of the direction they may have been heading as both songs rely more on the lyrics and the signature raspy vocal of Arturo Barrios to carry us through the songs. By not re-recording anything that was discovered on the original demos that resurfaced, Audio Karate has satisfied the craving by giving us a purely unfiltered snapshot into what might have been.

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