Review: "High Five" - Candy Band

HighFive.jpgThe problem with "subgenre" albums in kids music is they sometimes become jokes. "Hey, everyone, wouldn't it be funny if we did "Wheels on the Bus" reggae style? Or "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in polynesian tiki music?" And, yeah, maybe it's funny at first, but it gets old. And even if it's not meant to be funny, at some point the subgenre needs to move forward, to write songs that honor where they're coming from but at the same time are very much for kids. After all, those toddlers and preschoolers eventually hit grade school, where "Wheels on the Bus" is, well, not appreciated in any style.

Detroit's Candy Band, four moms who play punk and rock for kids, have done reasonably well in avoiding the turning punk rock for kids into a joke. (They, along with Jam Toast and, especially, the Boogers, do yeoman's work in that regard.) They've just released their fifth and latest album, High Five. Don't be afraid of the "punk" label -- from the get-go, this is a high-energy, high-fun album that's accessible to any family not afraid to rock a little. (I'm not a huge punk rock fan, and I dig this a bunch.) "Cookie Jar" gives the "who stole the cookie from the cookie jar" song a energetic stomp; that's followed by the irresistible original "I'm a Monkey," guaranteed to have your kids (and maybe even you) bouncing around the room making monkey noises on the chorus.

I know that some of my appreciation of the music is because of the musical shout-outs the band tosses to the adults listening along. "It's Raining Green" is a pitch perfect melding of Green Day's "Brain Stew" and "It's Raining, It's Pouring," while "Ice Cream" throws in the title snippet of Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough." But sometimes it's those little things (and they're always pretty little) that mean the difference between cursing at and humming along with the disk if your kid gets attached to it. Also, it takes confidence to pull off a version of "Ode to Joy" on a punk album -- it works out pretty well, as it turns out.

Kids ages 2 through 7 will most appreciate the music here -- they're also the most likely to bounce maniacally. You can listen to "Ice Cream" here, as well as buy the disk. High Five is Candy Band's best album and my new favorite punk rock album for kids. Definitely recommended.

I was provided a copy of the disk by the band for possible review.