Review: "The Final Funktier" - Recess Monkey

FinalFunktier.jpgIf you go over the 3 1/2-year archival history regarding Seattle trio Recess Monkey on this website, you'll see a gradual progression from "hey, these guys put out a fun album" to, well, "the heart of kids music today."

I said that because the band has worked its way into national exposure through talent, hard work, and a recognition that working together will get them further than going it alone. But it's also because over the past 4+ years, they've released 5 solid albums, the latest of which, The Final Funktier, was released this week.

The guys all seem too nice to have sold their soul to the devil for the ability to write and record catchy, danceable, and just plain fun songs, but whatever they've done, they haven't lost their touch one bit on the new record. As you might guess from the title, it's a more danceable album than previous efforts -- "Moon Boots" and "Booster Seat" are just a couple of the songs that will probably get your kids and you up off the floor shaking your, er, boots. The band once drew their inspiration from the Beatles, but now their pop-rock confections are more diverse, source-wise. "The Galax Sea" throws in some strings, "Constellation Conga" is, well, a gentle little conga, and several songs sound like they were recorded by the secret love children of the Go-Go's and Devo. (I'd also note that the band's commitment to the kids music scene is pretty big, with no less than 7 different kids musicians or bands making appearances on the disk.)

The album is also -- loosely -- space-based, though the album is less likely to inspire your kid to beg you for a telescope than it will to have them ask you for a stand-up microphone to practice their jokes. The lyric matter is right down the early elementary school alley -- little brothers ("My Brother is a Satellite"), robots ("How Do You Build a Robot?"), and aliens ("Ukulalien"). And everywhere it's leavened by a second-grade sense of humor that will make the kids giggle. (OK, maybe not "One Tiny Light," the sweet album closer.)

The 34-minute album is most appropriate for kids ages 5 through 9. You can hear samples at the album's CD Baby page, or full tracks at the band's website.

So, yeah, at this point Recess Monkey is a machine. A finely-tuned kids-music-hit-making machine. The Final Funktier is as good as anything they've done, maybe the best. They may not inspire the next generation of astronauts, but they may have a better chance than anyone else to inspire the next generation of kids musicians. Which I think is just as important. Highly recommended.

Disclosure: The band provided me a copy of the album for possible review. And I streamed "Constellation Conga" as a world premiere.