Expectations are high, therefore, with the release of Radio Jungle, the follow-up up to that 2010 album. Can they meet them?
Pretty much, yeah. At their very best, nobody makes better modern pop for preschoolers than the Pop Ups. Leadoff singles "Connect the Stars" (featuring Shine and the Moonbeams' Shawana Kemp on vocals plus Oran Etkin on tenor sax) and '80s throwback "Box of Crayons" should rule kindie radio airwaves through fall. And if that's enough, "Pop Up City" (with hints of Prince and Springsteen) and the flamenco'd tune "The Bat" there to extend the band's dominance through 2013. These songs should be blasting out from every lemonade stand and driveway art show.
The rest of the album, starting with "Math Rock," isn't as pure pop joy as those first four songs, but do have their own charms. All these songs are probably part of the forthcoming Pop Ups puppet show, but it's more obvious with these latter tracks, such as the counting on "Math Rock," the color matching on "Color Wheel," and the phonetic spelling of words on "Elephant." These last six songs are more Broadway than Brill Building. (OK, off-Broadway.)
The 38-minute album is most appropriate for kids ages 3 through 7. You can hear the album at the band's Bandcamp page (or stream below). Radio Jungle is a solid follow-up to, and equal of, its storied predecessor. It's a little more showtune-y than Outside Voices, so your family's personal preferences may vary, but you'll probably still swoon over most of these tracks, too. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of the album for possible review.