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Space Camp

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Album Review

Audio Karate sounds blatantly, happily (and unhappily) young on Space Camp, its Kung Fu debut, and this continually reminds you that you've heard all of this before. Peppy punk revivalist anthems filled to the brim with earnest vocals, guitarists outdoing each other with power chord slides and keening solos, and enough pogoing melody to fill a thousand Warped Tours — this is the sound of Space Camp. But who cares if you've heard it before when vocalist/guitarist Art is giving you his mushy, bleeding heart to hold while he blasts out another fabulous riff? "I remember when we first met," he sings in the bomb track opener, "Rosemead." "It was freshman summer I can't forget/Daydreams of you and I/Wrote your name on my folder a thousand times." If you're not teary-eyed yet, you will be when you find out Art messed it up and she left him. "Nintendo 89" is another melodic nugget, featuring great breaks and rhythm guitar chug, thumping bass, and Descendents-worthy high-pitched wailing. Just when the energy-drink high that is Space Camp can't get any more hyper, Audio Karate drops "Senior Year," which tumbles one set of anthemic chords into a successively more powerful set. It's like listening to three of your favorite Cali pop-punk songs at once while looking at the picture of the one who got away in your high-school yearbook. And if Art's singing about the same girl he lost in "Rosemead," back at the beginning of the album, then the boys in Audio Karate have on their freshly scrubbed hands the makings of a sugary skatepunk rock opera.


Formed: 1995 in Rosemead, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Audio Karate comprised childhood friends from Rosemead, CA: vocalist/guitarist Art Barrios, bassist/vocalist Justo Gonzalez, drummer Gabriel Camacho and guitarist Jason Camacho (those last two being cousins). They all bonded over a shared love of both '80s skatepunk and '70s metal, and in May 2002, released their debut of furiously catchy SoCal pop-punk via Kung Fu Records titled Space Camp. Tour dates with acts like the Ataris, Tsunami Bomb and the Vandals followed, as did a stretch on the 2004...
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Space Camp, Audio Karate
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