The masked, underdog champions of nerd-core, The Aquabats, are back with their first full-length album in six years. The band's most cohesive album to date, Charge!! blends quirky, new wave melodies with the band's hometown signature punk rock sound, concreted with their uniquely sarcastic, Saturday morning cartoon humor. Legions of loyal fans eagerly await this next episode from their rock 'n' roll superheroes. In fact, those same fans are largely responsible for snapping the band's silent streak when they flocked to last year's national tour. After their label, Goldenvoice Records, shut its doors in early 2000, The Aquabats went underground, living the lives of their secret identities, all the while their mythology amplifying online, fueled by hungry fans, speculating of their return to form. So why did The Aquabats wear costumes? Their audiences wanted to know. Raised by a television generation and out to entertain themselves first, answers such as "We're superheroes from a distant island called Aquabania," sarcastically spilled from the mouths of band members. They introduced themselves with outrageous names such as MC Bat Commander, Chainsaw, and Crash McLarson. It all stuck. It stuck is an understatement. Their fun, loopy energy was infectious. Instead of being self-indulgent and mocking their fans for liking them, they made room for each and every fan, regardless. Kids swarmed their shows in DIY costumes with such self-anointed monikers as: Churro Man, Cupcake, Afro Bat, Exact Change Man, Chicken Bat, AC Bubba Master and more. To get their friends into shows the band passed around monster masks and explained to promoters that these 'performers' were part of the show. Monsters and super villains became part of the act and The Aquabats universe took on a life of its own, inadvertently. The common theme running through all the songs is a certain dark wit and clever self-deprecation which could be interpreted as 'nerdy-ness.' It bursts into full bloom about mid-way into the album with the anthemic "Nerd Alert." This is no new subtext for The Aquabats; it's the common thread through all the albums, and one that's recently become more prevalent in pop culture. Picturing Napoleon Dynamite as a card-carrying Aqua Cadet (the band's fan club) is a no brainer. Rather than hiding deficiencies beneath colored contact lenses, tough guy tattoos, serial killer pseudonyms, or otherwise blending in with the growing, futile notion of rock 'n' roll as 'rebellion,' The Aquabats have always seemed to shock the 'shockers.' And in the new millennium what better way to revolt? The Aquabats cut through the dark facade of rock 'n' roll, encouraging people to lighten up, and not take themselves so seriously.