Boomkat Product Review:
Cult Boston post-hardcore outfit Karate are the latest band to benefit from a deluxe Numero Group reissue program, and their 1996 debut album showcases their fluid, jazzy mix of emo, slowcore and punk - somewhere between Unwound, Slint and American Football.
Karate might not be quite as cherished on the cult circuit as Unwound (who previously received the Numero reissue treatment), but their self-titled debut is worthy of a closer look. Active in Boston as the city struggled to assert itself after a strong punk and hardcore phase, Karate straddled genre, dipping between emo and jazz elements but wrapping them in familiar post-hardcore swaddling.
The angular guitar twangs aren't a million miles from Slint's era-defining "Spiderland", but there's just as much of Sam Prekop's Chicago school jazz noodling sitting beneath Geoff Farina's distinctive raw vocals. Karate defined Boston's Allston scene in the '90s and early '00s, before it was gentrified beyond recognition and their debut memorializes a transitional time.