For me, this is the first Lunch Money album that sounds like they were shooting for indie rock
radio play. Everything about Spicy Kid
, the songwriting, the production, the performances, exceeds anything they've released thus far, and several of the songs could top the college radio
charts. Definitely one of the best kids' music CDs of 2012.
Hailing from West Columbia, South Carolina, Lunch Money are Molly Ledford (guitar and songwriting), Jay Barry (drums), and J.P. Stephens (bass). Ledford and Barry played together in the indie rock band The Verna Cannon before they formed the equally sparse, but decidedly more upbeat, Lunch Money with Stephens in 2003.
Their first kids' album, Silly Reflection, was released in 2004, and slowly became an underground hit with critics and fans. The band became one of the shining lights on the leading edge of the new kindie rock movement, releasing their sophomore album Dizzy in 2009, and their third CD Original Friend in 2010. With the release of Spicy Kid in 2012 Lunch Money show no signs of letting up.
The Music of Lunch Money's 'Spicy Kid'
kicks off with the shimmering "Gingerbread Man
," possibly the first indie rock song ever written about that classic folk tale character. "Spicy Kid" follows, with buzzing guitars
and rumbling tom toms accompanying a parent proudly describing their independently-thinking youngster. The waltzing, acoustic "You Were a Basket of Flowers" tenderly sees a mom remembering her newborn child and the admiring adults that gazed down on her. The sparse "Translator" describes the frustration of a little kid's inability to tell grownups exactly what they mean, and the helpfulness of a sibling
's translating skills. "Time Out
" shines like a Lush
song, with layers of guitars, insistent bass, sizzling cymbals, and complex lyrics describing a kid having to sit it out for a couple of minutes; this one oughta be on the radio!
More Music from Lunch Money's 'Spicy Kid'
A child is suddenly "Awake" in the middle of the night, and slowly, quietly, and knowingly makes her way through her house checking on the rest of her family. She later goes on a "A Walk in the Rain" with a good friend as they observe suburban wildlife
during a drizzle, the music quietly shimmering all the while. The vaudeville
-like "S.P.E.L.L." tries to explain to grownups that when they spell out words in front of kids, little ones pretty much know what's up. "Puzzle Pieces Within" lopes along chunkily and encourages us to think about our unique qualities that we inherited from parents, grandparents
, uncles and aunts, and so on. Spicy Kid
comes to a close with a driving parent asking their back seat child "What Will You Ever See" if they fall asleep on the trip, reminding them, in a bigger picture sort of way, to slow down and take in the details of life that we might otherwise miss as we hurry along.
Spicy Kid is arguably Lunch Money's best album yet, which says great things about the band when it's the fourth CD into their discography. It seems the band's songwriting and performances are only geting better, and, although Spicy Kid was just released, it'll be hard to wait until the next album. Lunch Money's Spicy Kid is definitely one of the best kids' music CDs of 2012. And if you rush on over to the official Lunch Money website, you can listen to a streaming version of Spicy Kid in its entirety!
Released June 26, 2012; Squirrel Mechanic Records
- "Gingerbread Man"
- "Spicy Kid"
- "You Were a Basket of Flowers"
- "Time Out"
- "A Walk in the Rain"
- "Puzzle Pieces Within"
- "What Will You Ever See"