Karate

595

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Over Karate's 12 years as a band, they played 694 shows across the world before finally succumbing to frontman Geoff Farina's longstanding tinnitus and calling it a day in July of 2005. The band truly excelled in the live setting, and 595 (named for their 595th show) is perhaps the ultimate document of this. Recorded by a fan in Leuven, Belgium on May 5, 2003, at a place called Stuk while the trio was touring in support of their fifth full-length album, Some Boots, the tapes ended up in the hands of the band, who found that the recording perfectly captured the clarity and balance that they strove for in their studio recordings. And the performances here are so tightly executed that if it weren't for the occasional crowd chatter and applause, or the slight variations in Farina's guitar solos, there would be little to distinguish this as anything but another solid studio album from these Boston veterans. But in addition to being immaculately performed and preserved, the set also features some of Karate's finest songs. The laid-back jazz-funk of Some Boots and the preceding Unsolved (whose highlights are "Airport" and "Sever," respectively) make up the bulk of the track listing with three songs apiece, but Farina and co. also brought out a couple oldies -- rocking out on The Bed Is in the Ocean's "There Are Ghosts," and closing the set with an extended version of "Caffeine or Me," which originally ended their first, self-titled album. It is this careful song selection and their flawless performances that justify the posthumous release of this live album, making it a real treat for fans who thought they'd never hear the sound of these three talented musicians on-stage again.

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