, Dog On Fleas
' sixth family friendly release, will not disappoint fans of the band's eclectic, entertaining, and intelligent approach to kids' music. From straight up pop to sand swept sounds of the islands to early century jazz
, Invisible Friends
stirs up a storm of sounds that results in a wonderfully cohesive Dog On Fleas album, resulting in one of the best kids' music CDs of 2012.
Several years of performing and composing together seem to have made Dog On Fleas an impressively cohesive unit, which is a rare thing in kids' music. It doesn't hurt to have a couple of songwriters and lead singers in the same group, either. Hudson Valley's Dog on Fleas have been performing and recording intelligent, gutsy music for kids and adults since 1999. The band now have six CDs of original, inventive music under their belts, can boast an impressive live show, and aim to convert every listener to their brand of loose, energetic music.
According to their official bio, “their strategy is to play honest, loose and ingenious music for kids and their adult counterparts, and since kids tend to listen to music over and over and over, they are encoding special messages into the songs. Sort of like The Beatles, only less psychedelic. Actually, the only agenda the Fleas have is to make good music for decent people. And for you, too.” Head Dog Dean Jones has made his mark in kids' music as a solo artist, as well. He released the quiet, contemplative Napper's Delight in 2007, followed a few years later by the decidedly more raucous Rock Paper Scissors, one of the best kids' music albums of 2010.
Music from Dog On Fleas' 'Invisible Friends'
kicks off with the jaunty "There's a Band in My Head," the lyrics of which feature a veritable encyclopedia of exotic instruments
, while the break includes sounds from most of those instruments. The hand clappin' "Treehouse" sounds a little like The Newbeats' 1964 hit "Bread and Butter," the cheerful African pop
of "Fortunate Mistake" will have you up and dancing, and the relentless rhythm of "Party" and the double beat of the chorus is right in step with Elvis Costello
's "Pump It Up." Sounding like a New Orleans street march, "Just Another Finger" celebrates the importance of the thumb and features the baritone growl of kindie rock star Uncle Rock
(AKA Robert Burke Warren). After having been favorably compared to The Band
, Dog On Fleas do nothing to dispel those similarities with the Memphis gospel of "Peapod," featuring members of Recess Monkey
, Lunch Money
, Gustafer Yellowgold
, and The Deedle Deedle Dees. The chugging, alliterative "The Smelt" Play the reggae-fied, trombone-flavored love song "Charm Them Birdies" along side of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" and you've got yourself a nice little pair of aces.
More Music from Dog On Fleas' 'Invisible Friends'
Frantic hot jazz helps describe some "Invisible Friends," while the dreamily swinging "Tell Me What You Love" will bring to mind Alicia Bridges' 1978 hit "I Love the Nightlife (Disco Round)." Dig John Hughes' restless bass on the down and dirty "If You Wanna Dance Say Yeah!" a jam reminiscent of James Brown
's "The Big Payback," while Hughes' own "Has Anybody Seen My Shoes?" is a silly little ditty about making a game out of finding shoes. "Memory Lane" The atonal sea shanty
"As Far As the Eye Can See" will make a great live concert singalong, while the tender and sentimental samba of "So Sweet You Are" will remind you of the theme song of "I Dream of Jeannie
." Invisible Friends
eases to a close with the quiet and reflective "Great Big Ball," featuring a singing saw and an arrangement that Harry Nilsson would have dug.
Once again Dog On Fleas rise to the top of the kindie rock field, combining lyrics that are both deep and playful, tunes that are both unique and catchy, and arrangements that are both ear-pleasing and challenging. Invisible Friends will be a hit with all members of the family, and certainly ranks amongst the best kids' music CDs of 2012.
Released April 24, 2012; Dog On Fleas
- "There's a Band in My Head"
- "Fortunate Mistake"
- "Just Another Finger"
- "The Smelt"
- "Charm Them Birdies"
- "Invisible Friends"
- "Tell Me What You Love"
- "If You Wanna Dance Say Yeah!"
- "Has Anybody Seen My Shoes?"
- "Memory Lane"
- "As Far As the Eye Can See"
- So Sweet You Are"
- Great Big Ball"