Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Novelties

Novelties

Fall 2016 Music
Ages: 3 - 8 yrs.
Producer: Recess Monkey
CD Price: $12.99
Review:

What happens when you mix together three very musical educators from Seattle, fourteen original songs, and fold in great production? They rock! Guitarist/singer Drew Holloway, drummer/vocalist Korum Bischoff, and bassist/vocalist Jack Forman, collectively known as Recess Monkey, have a baker's dozen albums in a very successful, and fully fun, second career as a highly creative children's music band.

The overall theme, visually and musically plays on the classic (slightly retro) image of those wonderful white uniformed ice cream men, whose neighborly visits in their shiny trucks brought countless varieties of joy to children. The opening "Every Flavor" recalls those days with beautiful three part harmonies and a big band style approach, while "Sweaty Yeti" is fueled by a Zombies-style Hammond organ, and 50's horror movie guitar. Later on, "Show and Tell" marries a very danceable Calypso rhythm to a fun song of exploration, "Chasing My Tail," employs barbershop bass voice and frailing banjo for this doggy story, and "Snowball" combines witty lyrics and a doo wop chorus in a song about a snowball kept in the freezer for summer revenge. Recess Monkey even tries their hand at techno-rap on the infectious, horn driven "Piggyback," while "Bear With a Bear" recalls the nonsense songs of Harry Nilsson or John Lennon. Other highlights include, the silly and rocking "Mustaches of the World," the semi-spoken, Mitch Miller-like "Smitten for Kitten," the surfer rock of "Time to Make the Donuts, and the circus music and Elton John-style chorus of "Wind Up Robot."

The album concludes with the hilariously disjointed "Lovestruck Unicorn," the semi-autobiographical bluegrass of "The Band Next Door," and a sweet tale of a kid's new best friend in "My Guitar." Novelties comes in a well-designed package, with lyrics and a companion video of "Time to Make the Donuts" available on their colorful and fun website.

Lahri Bond   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.


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