You know, it's a shame that the ice cream truck industry seems to have withered away. (At least it has in our neighborhood.) Who can resist ice-cream-on-demand? Well, perhaps the industry's demise can be traced to the lack of variety in ice cream songs, with parents and kids rushing indoors at the slightest hint of another overly familiar ice cream truck song.
Friends, Michael Hearst is here to do what he can for the industry with his recently-released Songs for Ice Cream Trucks. Yes, it's 31 minutes (could that have been intentional?) of all-new ice cream music, which sounds just like those ice cream songs of old, only better. Hearst uses a variety of vintage instruments -- glockenspiel, thermin, and a Casiotone -- to create his musical soundscapes, and they sound just like the trucks you know and love.
I preferred the slightly peppier pieces, like the opener "Ice Cream!" or "Tones for Cones," though possibly my favorite flavor, er, song was the slow and oom-pah filled "What's Your Favorite Flavor?" The title scans so well to the opening melody of that song that I wonder if there aren't lyrics to all these songs here. (As it is only the closer, "Before I Drive Away," has vocal accompaniment.) The downside of the album is that the songs begin to melt together -- it's better at creating a mood of happiness and occasional wistfulness than at being a great musical album.
I love ice cream, but even I have a limit, and I think that will be many people's reaction here -- Michael Hearst's songs have an undeniable allure, but taken in one sitting the album will probably be too much for many fans. Still, Songs for Ice Cream Trucks achieves its own little piece of perfection and in small amounts (ie. mix tapes or shuffle play) is quite refreshing.