Review: Calling All Kids - CandyBand

CallingAllKids.jpgOne of the downsides to the recent increase in attention paid to kids' music -- what, there are downsides? -- is a proliferation of music that uses kids' songs as jokes, applying traditional songs to non-traditional song forms. The albums aren't so much for the kids as they are for the adults.

CandyBand plays punk music for kids and their recently-released fourth album, Calling All Kids is a fine example of why this band rises above the kids-music-as-source-of-amusement genre to make kids' music worth listening to.

To begin with, the Detroit-area band actually rocks. Paula Messner (or, er, "Almond Joy") has nifty guitar work throughout the album, particularly on songs like "Simon Says" and the "Eenie Meenie Song." And the rhythm section of Anita Kelly and Tammy Ristau, along with Daniela Burckhardt's vocals, are strong, too. None of which would matter if the songs weren't any fun or any good, but a lot of them are. For the most part, the band is writing its own songs at this point. While there might not be something as great previous CandyBand songs like "Ken Lost His Head" or "Get Up Already," families will definitely have fun with the bouncy "Octopus On My Head" (the chorus of "I've got an octopus on head / It's messing up my hair / It's sleeping in my ear / I've got an octopus on my head / And I hope it won't make breakfast of me" will live your head for a loooong time). "It's Your Birthday" is deservedly destined for many 5-year-old birthday party mix CDs. And the band re-records an older tune, "Monsters," except this time they go all "American Idiot" on us and add strings from the Detroit Symphony Civic Youth Ensembles.

Kids ages 3 through 7 will probably enjoy the songs here the most. In true punk fashion, the album is brief, running through its 10 tracks in less than 22 minutes. You can hear the first couple tracks here.

CandyBand is a great example of kids' artists who are melding their non-traditional kids' genres to kids' themes and songs in ways that respect kids while providing something for the parents to latch onto as well. If your family sits on the rock side of the pop-rock divide, you'll particularly enjoy Calling All Kids, but even if you don't have the complete Clash and Green Day discography, it's an album worth checking out. Recommended.