The advantage to the reviewer of an 18-minute CD, such as the 2006 self-titled debut from Southern California-based duo The SqueeGees, is that you can listen to the album a lot before putting fingers to keyboard to write a review.
The result of those repeated plays, however, is that some of the odd edges of this CD get rubbed away. Which is too bad, because it's those odd edges that help the CD stand out. Take "Ivan the Terrible," for example, which leads off with the lyrics "His beard is long, his eyes are wild / He terrorizes the town." It encourages the listener to growl. But after hearing it eight, ten times, it no longer seems so outlandish (even for a song in which we find out Ivan is not quite so terrible). Too bad, really. In fact, it's the conventional lyrics here that are sort of dry -- it's when co-singer/songwriters Samantha Tobey and Roman Bluem don't worry about the "point" of the song that the songs are at their most vibrant (the listing of fruits in "Apples, Oranges, & Peaches," all the different sounds in "The Elements").
Musically, the duo pack a lot into what is pretty basic folk-rock. A lot of this has to do with the vocals -- Tobey has a clear and distinct voice that is very inviting, while Bluem has a dry vocal sensibility. (That sensibility fits perfectly with "The Ol' WWW" -- "Saw a picture of a jet on the internet / The ol' WWW / Bid on a Chia pet on the internet / The ol' WWW" -- which will probably go way over the head of the target audience but will amuse their parents.) But they also craft some nice melodies --- "Nala the Chihuahua" is particularly ear-wormy.
Despite the claim on the CD cover that the CD is for "ages 0 - adult," I think kids ages 2 through 6 are most likely to enjoy it. You can download a couple tracks and listen to samples of others here, and there's always their Myspace page or CD Baby album page.
The SqueeGees is an album which takes a slightly skewed approach to fairly typical children's music material. The album is sadly too brief, but it does make me curious as to what they will come up with next. I hope it's even odder than this CD.