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A parent’s review: Recess Monkey’s Wired

Kevin Fry

Now on their incredible 11th album, can Recess Monkey keep up the same zany energy and rockin' family fun that have become their trademarks? Absolutely! Once the first song on their newest album Wired kicks off, the madcap musical mayhem practically doesn't stop until the final track.

The band describes Wired as a "gadget rock" homage to maker culture, which encourages kids to tinker, explore the world by creating inventions and gadgets, and think outside the box. The album is, of course, loaded with Recess Monkey's skillful puns hidden in the lyrics, including the clever double meaning of the title song, "Wired." Not only does it refer to the overall invention and inspiration themes of the album, but also the "hyper crazy twitchy fun" kick-started by a sugar rush.

The twitchy fun continues with upbeat songs like "Take Your Kids to Work," "The Great Diorama," and "Grandpa is a Time Machine," which transports parents listening into memories of their own grandparents' front porch, sipping sweet tea in the summertime.

"Duct Tape World" and "Brick by Brick" drive home the album's themes of imagination and innovation. "Duct Tape World" is my 5-year-old's favorite song on Wired, giving her the giggles as she pictures all of the things that you can make out of a million and two rolls of silver tape. "Brick by Brick" is a headbanging ode to playing with LEGO on a rainy day, a favorite pastime of just about every kid in Seattle.

"Wishing Well" is a small break from the hyper action. Recess Monkey has long been inspired by The Beatles, and you can clearly hear their influence in songs like "Braces" and "Wishing Well." In the latter song, listeners will be entranced by a guitar solo tribute to George Harrison. Drew Holloway's dulcet voice and the band's harmonies sound like they could have come straight off a Beatles album.

Like The Beatles, Recess Monkey is constantly experimenting with songs and practically re-creating their sound just about every album. Wired is wildly inventive. From the 70s inspired funk and inescapable earworm of "Car Wash" to the bouncy, tongue-twisting "Lazy Susan," the songs on Recess Monkey's latest release are unique, unforgettable and absolutely certain to strike a chord with your kids.

Wired, recommended for kids ages 3 to 8, is available on June 17 at a suggested retail price of $14.99.

Check out Recess Monkey's newly released music video for "Brick by Brick" on YouTube.

Kelly Knox is a Seattle-area mom and writer who sees a mountain of duct tape rolls in her future. 

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