Review: Jump in the Jumpy House - Mr. David

JumpInTheJumpyHouse.jpgHow to describe Jump in the Jumpy House, the recently-released third CD for kids from San Jose, California-based artist Mr. David?....

How about... "this album sounds like nothing else you've heard all year."

Well, yes, but that's what I said about his last album, The Great Adventures of Mr. David, so perhaps I need to find different words, because it doesn't sound like that CD, either.

Whereas the previous album had a strong folk and folk-rock influence, the new album has more diversity of sound -- the garage rock of the title track, aided by the propulsive guitar work of Greg Lisher from Camper Van Beethoven; the gentle Spanish guitar on "Miss Pila"; the early New Wave sounds of "Hey! It's Lunchtime!" Mr. David (real name: David Alexandrou) does a passable Johnny Cash impression on "Them Devils," or at least is obviously inspired by him there. I also love the brief "Ragtime Honey," a sweet little ragtime instrumental that's a nice palate-cleansing (or aural-cleansing) at the center of this 31-minute album before plunging into the second side.

In an interview here last year, Mr. David said he was proud of "putting out a kind of children’s music that really is different." There's no doubt he's doing that. There are times on this CD when I wonder if it really isn't a little too different. "Cabin Blues" is pretty abstract for a kids' song, about passing the days in a (vacation) cabin. The leadoff "Crocodiles Are Hungry" is almost stream-of-consciousness, barely touching on crocodiles and ending with a tribute to "John, Paul, George, and Ringo." (Favorite line: "People always ask me, 'How can you spend so much time up in your hammock?' / I say, 'Because man, I got pink lemonade!'") I think this is one of those albums that will probably divide listeners. Some families will absolutely adore this album for its adventurousness while others might think that "Jump in the Jumpy House" rocks and "Little Girl" is a sweet little song and the rest is just a little too weird.

The album is probably most appropriate for kids ages 4 through 8. You can hear (and download) "Hey! It's Lunchtime" and "Jump in the Jumpy House" at Mr. David's Myspace page or hear samples of all the tracks here.

Jump in the Jumpy House is another wildly imaginative album from Mr. David. It's got some fun beats and lyrical pictures. Even if the album isn't quite your family's cup of lemonade, though, you have to hand it to Mr. David for indeed stretching the boundaries of what kids music can be. Recommended.