Tim Kubart, head of Tim and the Space Cadets, left the kindie band The Jimmies nearly years ago because he wanted to write and perform his own kids music. Along with another Jimmies veteran, Matt Puckett, Kubart released an awesome video and 5-song EP in 2010 and slowly crafted the full-length debut, which gets released next week.
The result, Anthems for Adventure, is a big, sprawling, messy album. I like to think of it as one of those big arena-ready albums you might have heard released in the '70s. There are echoes of Elton John and the Eagles, mellow pop-rock for the kindie set, but there are some more indie sounds as well. ("Bumblebee," for example, could be the shiniest song Clap Your Hands Say Yeah never wrote.) Hand-claps and sing-along choruses (hi, there, "Superhero!"), it's an album whose songs are meant to be heard in concert.
When I say "messy," I don't mean sloppy. I really liked the slow-building arrangement of "Endless Summer," about celebrating summer even in the midst of summer. One of the standouts, "Upbeat/Downbeat," honors its theme of making music with a serious Motown-era groove. And with more than a couple dozen different musicians making an appearance, there's a lot of musical firepower providing a miniature wall of sound. My only warning is that the lyrics are very focused on the kids, celebrating their perspective (see, for example, "Double Knot," an emotional ode to an outsized pair of shoes). Many folks will see this as an good thing -- and who could blame them? -- but if you prefer your kids music to take a more parent-inclusive approach lyrically, this probably isn't your first choice.
The album is most appropriate for kids ages 4 through 8. You can hear some of the tracks at the band's website. Anthems for Adventure might be the most apropos kindie album title of the year as it's filled with songs about explorations large and small, songs to be sung along with. Tim and the Space Cadets wear their corduroy-patched heart on their sleeve; sympathetic adventurers will enjoy this spirited celebration. Recommended.
[Disclosure: I received a copy of this album for possible review.]