With a punkish overdrive and energy that brings groups like Ghoti Hook to the brain, “Hai Karate” is a snapshot of the creativity displayed by the Kansas City psych rock group Suneaters. In press materials for the band’s latest full-length affair, Suneaters II: Loving Relationship, they are described as “rightfully claim[ing] that long sought after territory between Hall & Oates and Thin Lizzy.” What that means is anyone’s guess, but that’s part of Suneater’s charm: although they’re clearly a rock group of some sort, they always keep you guessing as to what that sort that is. The manic feel of “Hai Karate” is but one element of the Loving Relationship puzzle; to get the whole story, you’ll have to check the album out once it’s released this summer.
Vocalist and guitarist Chris Garibaldi tells PopMatters, “[This is] a nod to the ‘70s cologne that, while smelling great, also educates the user in fighting off aggressive would-be lovers. The song celebrates widely admired international karate champion Ken Knudson. Knudson, also the founder of the Sybaris hotel chain—famous for helping Midwestern couples rekindle marital passion, used a single flying front kick to stop a car-full of thieves. The thieves were attempting to make off with Knudson’s bass boat.”
Suneaters II: Loving Relationship is out on 1 June via the band’s own Lotuspool label.