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

Michael & the Rockness Monsters - Funny Faces

Michael & the Rockness Monsters - Funny Faces

Fall 2017 Music
Ages: 2 - 9 yrs.
CD Price: $14.97

Here we have the second outing of Preschool of Rock founder Michael Napolitano children's music band Michael & the Rockness Monsters. Once again, we have a clutch of delightfully irreverent songs, set to myriad changing musical styles. The fun starts with the slightly techno "Cardboard Cutout Man," which bops along on a '90s club beat before transforming into funky a '70s Disco/Soul break; think World Party meet the Brides of Funkenstein. The fun continues with the Cat Stevens-esque "Everything Anything," the Monty Python-ish "Elevator Song," and monster mash of "Feet For Hands." Napolitano and company downshift into jazz swing on "Never Know," a song that reminds children of the endless possibilities of life. They board back on the funk train with the silly and fun "Mr. Pickle," then do a brief hoedown on "Rainbows," and a sweetly acoustic turn on the slightly bizarre title track. Sciuridae Punk is featured in the furry and obtuse "Squirrel Fight." Oddly, from track 10 on, the album transforms effortless into a melodic folk CD, evident in their song about unity "Same Side," as well as the John Sebastian evoking, sweet "Together Forever," and "Babies Cry," while "So Happy" would not have sounded out of place on an Incredible String Band LP. The CD concludes with the self-esteem affirming, horn fueled "Who I Am." Napolitano plays the majority of the instruments, and sings in a tuneful, friendly, and, at times, very silly voice. Also on board, is main collaborator Dean Jones, as well as special guests Tracy Bonham, Sonia De Los Santos, Tommy Kessler, and Tim Sutton, though a shortage of liner notes fails to include which tracks they are featured.

Lahri Bond   ©2017 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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