Review: Rock Paper Scissors - Dean Jones feat. the Felice Brothers

RockPaperScissors.JPGThis is the noisiest kids' CD you'll hear all year. Dean Jones, musician with a dozen hats (including one as the ringleader of the wonderful folk/pop/jazz/whatever band Dog on Fleas), turns to a bunch of friends, primarily the Felice Brothers and Earmight, for his latest album Rock Paper Scissors. Unlike his first solo kids' disk, the lullaby(-ish) Napper's Delight, this new album is loud and sloppy and all over the place. (If the two albums are in the same place at the same time, they will explode, just as if you put matter and anti-matter together.)

The opening track, "Hail! Hail! The Gang's All Here!" outdoes Dan Zanes and anybody else who's ever attempted to put a party group jam on record. You will not hear a better album-opener all year, and the album almost suffers from being unable to match that level of energy and raucous joy the rest of the disk, as if anything could. As the album proceeds, Jones and his pals move from the jazzy title track, the Jazz Age novelty track (in spirit, anyway) "Butterflies" to the sing-it-loud-and-proud midtempo "Sing Like a Sparrow." Jones pal Uncle Rock shows up to mug his way through the loudest song about snoring you'll ever hear "Roncando," while the band channels a little bit of the great band Morphine on "Poison Ivy." It moves through many emotions and many instruments (haven't seen "car-horn-o-phone" on an instrument list lately). While this isn't quite the folk/pop that Dog on Fleas mastered on When I Get Little, people who adored that album and didn't have quite the attachment to its follow-up Beautiful World will probably find this a worthy successor.

Kids ages 4 through 8 may dig the album more so than kids of other ages, though kids ages 34 through 38 will enjoy it just as much. You can hear clips from the approximately 34-minute album here.

So, yeah, Dean Jones throws in everything but the kitchen sink on Rock Paper Scissors, and then goes ahead and throws in the sink for good measure. Lots of kids albums describe themselves as a good party, but this album is the real deal. Definitely recommended.