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Karate | The Bed Is In The Ocean (Southern)
Geoff Farina's solo album, Usonian Dream Sequence, placed his evocative narratives against the barren framework of his own double-tracked guitar. Here their power is undiminished by the Karate trio setting, an ostensibly telepathic union of bass, drums and Farina's guitar that meld jazz-rock and off-kilter indie rhythms recorded simply; unencumbered by effects and with a minimum of overdubs. 'There's a man around, his face is always firetruck-red. I've heard there were angels in his head, but now he holds a baseball bat instead,' he sings, with resignation, on opener There Are Ghosts. Farina's delivery is consistently convincing, his half-spoken recitations at times threatening to drown in negativity ?? 'All I see is problems without the solutions. And God don't make things that you can rearrange. But that's ok, because I can't take the change' ?? occasionally balanced by an unerring romanticism ?? 'I know you're sincere because I've got it on my machine. I turn it up loud, like you're here now.' A more mature, less turbulent record musically than previous Karate records, The Bed Is In The Ocean boasts some compelling songs (The Same Stars and The Last Wars stand among the best of last year) ?? Geoff Farina's view of the world an imposing, realistic alternative.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #4 - Winter 1998/9 - The Lost Issue