A Parent’s Review: ‘Flying’ CD from Recess Monkey
Since we visited this Seattle trio's kid recording session for their last CD, Recess Monkey has gotten a whole lot of glowing national recognition. People magazine gave the CD The Final Funktier a 4-star review, Time magazine called them the "city's breakout stars" of Seattle's kindie rock scene and USA Today told readers, "You can't go wrong" with the band.
Heady stuff for the three teachers from Seattle who formed the band in 2005: Jack Forman, Daron Henry and Drew Holloway. And well deserved. The band's latest release, Flying, has all of the catchy tunes, kid-grounded lyrics and multigenerational appeal of their previous CDs, this time built around a superhero theme – not as in Superman and Wonder Woman, but as in the play acting of kids everywhere who need only a bed sheet cape to become super in their own worlds.
In the CD's title song, "Flying," a cape has exactly that transformative effect on one kid. There's also "Band-aids" about a risk-taking little sister whose adventures result in being "covered in Band-aids."
And in one of my favorite songs, "Bravest Kid in the World," a kid shows the courage to admit a mistake and to stand up to a friend who sneaks away from the playground. It's a song with a message that manages to not beat you or your little ones over the head because it's buoyed along by such a fun and catchy tune: "I was at home, I had a purple Sharpie/ And drew on a table accidently/ When my dad approached, fear held me down/ I could hardly speak or utter a sound/ I felt like I might break, ‘til I admitted my mistake/ Then I was the bravest kid in the world."
Another one of my favorite songs is a pretty little ballad about – of all things – a toolbox. Really, don't you know some kid somewhere who truly is in love with tools?
One of the things I really like about Recess Monkey is the way they play with different musical styles. "Flapjacks" becomes an old-timey (think banjo) ode to this favorite kid breakfast food. "My Valentine" reminds me of 20s jazz. "I'm Your Favorite Book" has an island beat. One of my daughters' favorites, "Bunk Bed," pays homage to doo-wop, and in "Grandma's House" things get a little bit funky.
The variety of musical styles keeps things interesting, even though pop and rock reign.
Flying keeps up the Recess Monkey's streak of winning CDs for the whole family.
Flying gets its official launch on Saturday, June 18, at the Mount Baker Community Club. The show starts at 10:30 a.m., and you can get tickets via Brown Paper Tickets (visit www.recessmonkey.com for the link.)
You can buy Flying at the show or beginning on June 21 at www.recessmonkey.com, www.amazon.com, www.cdbaby.com, www.theAVCafe.com, http://bigkids.com or iTunes. In the meantime, check out the Recess Monkey website to hear plenty of tracks from the CD.
Ruth Schubert is the managing editor of Seattle’s Child.