KARATE FOR KIDS/FRAME: Split: 7”

Two song by both bands; they’re taking the pop punk blueprint laid out years ago by bands like Jon Cougar Concentration Camp, Organic and, more recently, Altaira and Snuggle, and trying their damnedest to keep their heads above water. And for the most part, they do. Thoughtful, fairly aggressive, and melodic stuff by both outfits, with Karate For Kids managing to come out on top if only for their more consistent level of intensity. Frame’s pulling their weight, don’t get me wrong, but there are moments when the guy in that band sings rather than bellows, and the result is more cloying than dynamic, also showcasing just how easy it is to fuck up songs like this when your bark is worse than your bite. As it stands, Karate For Kids does remind me more than a bit of Altaira, and that’s definitely a compliment, and Frame is kind of poised right of the cusp of grasping the “really good pop punk” label; they just need to add a bit more barbed wire and subtract a little more bubblegum.

 –keith (Salinas)