Aquacadets come in all shapes and sizes: nerds, new wavers, punk rockers, ska kids, and most notably, children and parents. Thanks to hit Nick Jr. series Yo Gabba Gabba, the Aquabats have been riding the awesome wave of celebrity in the sea of children’s programming. It’s no coincidence considering the bands’ frontman and fearless leader MC Bat Commander (aka Christian Jacobs) is the show’s co-creator. While the Aquabats have never been known for mature songwriting, Hi-Five Soup! walks a thin line between fun pop-punk and a full-on children’s record.
“B.F.F.!” is a TV-ready song about “big friends forever” with an odd mix of children’s gang vocals and Auto-Tune. However, our heroes have not lost their evildoer-destroying prowess. Employing a hearty 8-bit melody, “The Shark Fighter!” regales the tale of a brave man who avenges the loss of his love by fighting the sharks that took her away. The Aquabats hit a home run on “Poppin’ A Wheelie!” (a song about exactly what it’s title implies) with calculated synth line, a spastic hook and a killer call-and-response verse.
Hi-Five Soup! includes a smattering of unique contributors. Hip-hop legend (and occasional Yo Gabba Gabba guest) Biz Markie lays down a verse on “Radio Down!” and “Pink Pants!” features vocals from none other than the internet cartoon superstars, Strong Bad and Homestar Runner; characters who have distracted college students from their studies for more than a decade. The album is by no means a masterpiece, but the addition of a few of its most promising tunes to the Aquabats’ live show will make the experience that much more entertaining for the parents and kids in the audience.