Itty-Bitty Review: Bear Hunt! - Josh and the Jamtones


Those of you who've seen Josh and the Jamtones in concert know that to call them high-energy is to underestimate the degree of enthusiasm they bring to a live gig.  The band Brings It.

You can hear a lot of that energy on Bear Hunt!, the third album from the Boston-area band.  The exclamation at the end of "Everybody Dance!" isn't window-dressing, it's a near command, and those kids who are still standing after that song probably won't make it through the next song, the just-as-energetic "Pirate's Life."  ("Snow Day" and the  similarly amped.)  The band gets an assist from occasional Dan Zanes collaborator Father Goose, an appropriate guest artist given the band's reggae and roots rock tendencies, on a couple tracks -- who knew "Swing Low" was a song about coming home from school?

I am not generally a big skit fan, and while Josh Shriber and chief musical collaborator Patrick Hanlin, generate quite a few laughs in their 4 skits that reenact in a skewed way the classic "Bear Hunt" song, devoting about 40% of their album's 44 minute run time to the skits takes away a lot of the energy generated by the songs themselves.  They felt more appropriate for live show banter.  (Judge for yourself, perhaps, by listening to the stream of four of the songs album, best for kids ages 3 through 7, below.)

Josh and the Jamtones are definitely a band to watch as their live shows have attracted a lot of attention.  The music on Bear Hunt!  doesn't try anything new, but is given a bit of flash and shine and if it doesn't make your family laugh, at the very least it's probably gonna make you dance.  Recommended

Note: I received a copy of the album for possible review.