Hi-Five Soup! For The Soul

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The Spectrum

Artist: The Aquabats

Album: Hi-Five Soup!

Label: Fearless Records

Grade: B

Calling all Aquacadets! The Aquabats are at it again with their fifth studio album, Hi-Five Soup!, and they're just as over-the-top and ridiculous as ever.

For those unaware, the Aquabats are superhero, new-wave-ska pop-punkers who aren't afraid to be more than just a little absurd with their music. Just a few of their previous hits include "Fashion Zombies!," "Super Rad!," and, of course, the ever-popular "Pizza Day!" They're pretty big exclamation-point enthusiasts, too.

Since breaking onto the scene with Return of the Aquabats! in 1996, the band has garnered a devoted fan following and has been through several lineup changes. Over the years, the band has both gained and lost a number of impressive musicians, including a pre-Blink 182 Travis Barker.

Hi-Five Soup! opens up with "The Shark Fighter!" and it's exactly what anyone would expect after hearing the title. Frontman MC Bat Commander's lyrics tell the tale of a man who fights sharks after they took away his girlfriend. Mixed with a catchy riff and a bouncy synth line, this song is Aquabats through and through.

The second track on the album, titled "B.F.F.!," indicates a slight shift in the band's sound. The song comes off more as a children's song than anything, complete with a collection of kids lending their voices to the chorus and auto-tuning.

Sadly, the album sticks with this theme for the majority of Hi-Five Soup! This is more than likely due to the recent success of MC Bat Commander's children's show, Yo Gabba Gabba. However, this doesn't ruin the album, as they still manage to squeeze in some true-to-heart Aquabats numbers like "The Legend is True!" and "Just Can't Lose!"

In addition to the colorful, tight-clad musicians, the album also features the likes of hip-hop star Biz Markie on the song "Radio Down!" and e-mail guru Strongbad on "Pink Pants!"

Despite a few too many songs being geared toward children, the Aquabats have managed to pump out another ludicrous and super-rad album with Hi-Five Soup!

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com