The New Jersey band Ernie & Neal have been playing kids rock for nearly 10 years now. On their recently-released fifth album Rock the House, the band plays a brand of rock that, really, can only be called "classic rock." Though their promo materials suggest Aerosmith as a reference point, the album brings to mind not so much Mr. Tyler and company so much as Bachman-Turner Overdrive and their song "Takin' Care of Business."
There are some strong songs here, most notably the leadoff track "This Whole Band," a tasty number which deftly melds "This Old Man" with nifty guitar riffs and a great horn section. "Monkey Dance" has a sinewy trumpet line. The ska sounds of "Hooligan" and the funky lament for the de-planeted "Pluto" are also highlights.
But the album at times feels like less than the sum of its parts as too many of the tracks begin to sound the same over the 44-minute runtime of the album. While Ernie & Neal have a good live reputation, and I can really see how these songs would be fun to hear in concert, stacked together on the CD it got a little repetitive, with some lyrics ("Every day a new day begins / every day a new day begins") bordering on classic-rock generic-ness. But I think the good songs (see above) break out of that mold -- they're also the more sprightly, fun songs on the album.
Like I said, there are some really good songs on Rock the House. It's possible that the songs I didn't like were a matter of personal taste, so you may find the gaps between the really good songs easier to navigate than I did. As for me, I'm hoping Ernie & Neal are considering "Ska the House" as the title for their next CD.