Karate: The bed is in the ocean

Throughout their seven-year career, Boston based post-rockers Karate shifted gradually from a controlled, minimal punkrock sound to a more instrumentally focused style with an increasingly prominent place for Geoff Farina's jazzy guitar playing. Arguably, they were at their very best just in between. While their debut "Karate" (1995) suffered somewhat from the fact that Farina's beautifully quiet-yet-loud vocal style wasn't completely developed yet (he cracked a few false notes here and there), their latest effort "Unsolved" (2001) was a bit too crammed with jazzy guitar leads to live up to their early minimalist appeal.

Of the two records released in between, "In place of real insight" (1997) and "The bed is in the ocean"(1999), the latter struck a perfect balance between the bare-essence ethics of punkrock and the soothing, beautiful sound of an intimate jazz combo. It was jazzrock without the egos. It was punk with brains and a heart and it was half an hour of beautiful, captivating songs without a single boring moment. What is most impressive about this record is the remarkably intense way in which it sheds new light on musically well documented emotions like anger, loss and everyday struggle. In a refreshingly sincere and understated way Farina, Goddard and McCarthy completely circumvent all cliches and pitfalls that come with the territory.

All recordings were made in Farina's living room, giving it a very relaxed and intimate feel. The record has a very sparse but carefully constructed sound with equal parts of rock, punk and jazz, but far more minimal than each of those. The recording is a mere registration: there are no effects, no productional tricks, just a warm, clear guitar sound with a mild tube overdrive, a punchy bass guitar with a round tone and a small, well recorded and well played drum kit.



  1. There are ghosts
  2. The same stars
  3. Diazapam
  4. The last wars
  5. Bass sounds
  6. Up nights
  7. Fatal strategies
  8. Outside is the drama
  9. Not to call the police

Southern Records (1997)