Itty-Bitty Review: Clap Your Hands - Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang

ClapYourHands.jpgIt's been too long since we've heard from Los Angeles' Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang. They released the fine Get Up and Dance in 2007 (review), but aside from a track on a 2008 Disney compilation, silence.

So, good news -- they've just released Clap Your Hands, their fourth album, and, yeah, they still rock. Well, not specifically for you -- Gwendolyn's music is still pretty much targeted at preschoolers, though perhaps a kindergartner or two might want to listen in and dance along. Sunny pop (with a few other genre explorationss thrown in) plus preschooler-oriented lyrics, that's always been the GTG formula, and they don't stray from it here. "Clap Your Hands" is essentially a movement song wrapped inside horns and harmonies -- it'd collapse under the weight of its simple lyrics ("You know me / I like to clap my hands / Clap, clap my hands") if it weren't an insanely catchy and well-produced tune. "Alright, Okay, Just Fine" swings while explaining feelings and emotions at a preschool level. "Smile, Smile" sounds like a lost track from a Muscle Shoals kids record. The gentle rocker "Evens and Odds" is the best song about the subject (sorry, TMBG), while "Mix It Up" mixes together crayons and diversity along with an insanely catchy chorus. The album's not perfect (I'm lookin' at you, "Speak-A-My-Language"), but there are a lot more hits than misses.

The 27-minute album is most appropriate for kids ages 2 through 6. You can hear clips of the album at its CD Baby page. Clap Your Hands will have you doing that along with your kids in spite of yourself. Tons of fun for the preschoolers you know and love. Definitely recommended.