It took me a little while to appreciate the Imagination Movers -- in their early, pre-Disney years, I didn't hear anything particularly special in their music. Not bad, by any means, just nothing... noteworthy. But writing songs for your TV show -- constantly -- and playing live shows -- constantly -- will hone your songwriting chops, and their new, post-Disney album Rock-O-Matic bears the fruit of all that hard work.
There are some kids musicians who attempt to map out the interior life of a child. The Imagination Movers are not those musicians. They instead write silly songs about goofy dance moves ("Dance Kung Fu," the album opener) or shiny pop-rockers about going to outer space ("Blast Off"). Or perhaps they write songs that will sound good when they play in front of audiences of 1,500 people or more (the dancehall of "Everybody Sing" or the Queen stomp of the title track). There are plenty of songs here that sound pretty good coming out of the minivan speakers and will sound even better in concert. (A couple more favorites: "Rain Rain," which neatly weaves "Rain rain go away" into a Movers original tune, and "Little Red Wagon".)
For the most part the 43-minute album will resonate with kids ages 4 through 7 (though a couple songs, like "Buckle Me In" aim at a younger crowd). In addition to the CD, the album also comes packaged with a 30-minute DVD that mixes silly comedic interludes (a la Monty Python or The Muppet Show, though nowhere near as brilliant) in between videos, some of which ("Little Red Wagon," "Blast Off") are very, very good.
Longtime Imagination Movers fans will certainly not be disappointed by Rock-O-Matic, the band's best album yet. But even families who spend their kids music time in independent waters should find quite a bit to enjoy on the disk. The Movers have earned their success with a keen eye (and ear) toward pleasing family audiences of all ages and Rock-O-Matic offers willing listeners a generous portion of kid-pop confections. Recommended.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the album for possible review. I also was asked to World Premiere the band's video for "Everybody Sing."