As you might guess, three musical minded early childhood educators
have no end to their collective imagination, as seen in the eighth kids' music album by Recess Monkey
. In Tents
explores the wonders and weirdness of the circus
via the band's trademark pop sound (think The Beatles
, The Kinks
, The Raspberries, etc.). So, hurry, hurry! Step right up! Recess Monkey present In Tents
, one of the best kids' music CDs of 2012!
These three Seattle elementary school teachers, Drew Holloway on guitar, Jack Forman on bass and keyboards, Daron Henry on drums, have been making kids' music together as Recess Monkey since 2004. They released their first children's CD in 2005, Welcome to Recess Monkey Town, followed by Aminal House in 2006, Wonderstuff in 2007, Tabby Road in 2008, Field Trip in 2009, The Final Funktier in 2010, Flying! in 2011, and In Tents in 2012.
The majority of Recess Monkey’s albums have been presented as concept albums, including the double album Wondertuff, a rock opera about Everett the Wonderbee vs. The Gray in a struggle over the Magical Meadows; Aminal House’s almost two dozen songs about all sorts of creatures, big and small; the school-related Field Trips; the superhero-themed Flying! and the band's most recent release In Tents.
Music from Recess Monkey's 'In Tents'
Throughout In Tents
you can hear the influence of producer Dean Jones
, head honcho of the kids' music band Dog On Fleas
. His talent of painting analog, organic musical sounds with electronic flourishes makes the album even more ear-catching. In Tents
kicks off with the play on words title track, as the band show off their talent for catchy hooks, while the followup tune "Popcorn" bubbles with electropop awesomeness. "Sit and Spin" sounds like a cross between kids' music star Justin Roberts
and alterna-king Elvis Costello
, and "Human Cannonball" features a herky jerky, jangly sound reminiscent of post punk heroes Wire
. The weird characters that inhabit the "Odditorium" are accompanied by a vaudeville background, while "Bouncy House" borrows a little from the choppy chords of The Beatles' "She's a Woman,"
with a smoothed out middle eight, then the waltzing "Carousel" slows down the pace a bit.
More Music from Recess Monkey's 'In Tents'
The bouncy, blippy "Twins" is a heartfelt tribute to close friendships, while "I Could See (Magically)," the most interesting tune on In Tents
production-wise, describes a kid's new look at life after getting glasses
. A simple keyboard drumbeat drives the jokey, plays-on-words "House of Cards," while "Edwina Mae" gathers the courage to appear in the class play via a tune The Jam would be proud of. and "The Dancin' Bear" is proud of her uniqueness, her confidence evidenced by a funky beat and accompanying rap. The jazzy "Lemonade" invites the listener to buy a cool glass of tangy refreshment, while a brief calliope tune leads into the acoustic "Crystal Ball," invoking The Beatles with the line "Dear crystal ball, where will I be when I'm 64." The album closes with the "so long, wish we could stay" tune "Show on the Road," a poppy prog rock tune reminiscent of Donovan
's epic classic "Atlantis." If you spring for the physical CD, make sure to check out Kevin Fry
's wonderful photography and Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Recess Monkey's In Tents is yet another great example of the camaraderie that exists in the kids' music world. Not only does Dog On Fleas' Dean Jones help out, South Carolina's Lunch Money, Oklahoma's Sugar Free Allstars, and Seattle's The Pop Ups make appearances as well. Another winner from Recess Monkey, and one of the best kids' music CDs of 2012.
Released June 19, 2012; Monkey Mama
- "In Tents"
- "Sit and Spin"
- "Human Cannonball"
- "Bouncy House"
- "I Could See (Magically)"
- "House of Cards"
- "Edwina Mae"
- "The Dancin' Bear"
- "Crystal Ball"
- "Show on the Road"