Back when I was a fresh clubgoer, not yet legal, it was all about Jawbreaker, Sunny Day Real Estate, All, Jimmy Eat World and a slew of other bands suited to the Vans Warped Tour. Back then, what would be called “emo” was, as my friend once said, “shaving your head and eating your beans.” Then, what was called “punk” was nowhere near the ’70s musical revolution deserving of the name. The two sounds formed a crossbreed of pleading vocals and too-fast-for-mom guitar.
Lady Melody, the first offering from Audiokarate, is exactly that brooding, kinda heavy, nod-with-arms-crossed sound. And for what it is, it isn’t bad. The problem is I can’t tell why. With All/Descendents’ Bill Stevenson and Karl Alvarez contributing backing vocals (Stevenson and Jason Livermore produce, too), I’m not sure if it’s the obvious All influence that will seduce the young, lovelorn Mohawks (see “Catch and Release”) or if it’s just because the legendary guys who recorded “Mr. Bass” are on the disc. “Get What You Deserve” and “Party at the Lexington Queen” are indicative of a young, ambitious band loaded with energy if not instrumental savvy. The musicianship and songwriting need maturing, but some growth shows up in “Jesus Is Alive and Well (and Living in Mexico)” with drummer Gabriel Camacho showing some serious moxie lacking elsewhere on the album.
Eventually, my friends and I grew out of the pop-punk thing. But Audiokarate may be a band that can grow with its audience, instead of pulling a Blink-182 and simply waiting for each year’s graduating class to try out rebellion.