Another day, another album by a collection of artists best known for their music for adults.
Yes, it's possible to be a kids music reviewer jaded by news that members of Southern California-area bands like Sublime, the Ziggens, and more came together to record as Jelly of the Month Club. Been there, done that, right?
But as I am constantly reminded in this neck of the musical woods, it's possible to be surprised by people, and their debut album Introducing: Jelly of the Month Club is a blast of energy from beginning to end. There's a ska-punk feeling to a lot of the songs, of course (Exhibit A: "The English Language," which is Schoolhouse Rock by way of the Clash perhaps), but there are more diverse sounds, such as the mellower album opener, the strumming "Brand New Friend." Some songs like "Tell Someone" contain lessons of a sort, but that's a song that namechecks Cheryl Ladd and Chaka Khan, to name a few, so clearly there's a playfulness that cuts through any overt "Learn. This." approach. There are points at which I wondered who the songs were for (I sort of feel sorry for any kid who understands the CSNY reference on "Gone Squatchin'"), so it's possible that some kids might not care. On the other hand, I don't know if "Girlfriend" is really a kids' song (it was originally recorded by the Ziggens), but there's such gleeful joy, especially in the chorus, that kids'll probably hook into it immediately. And there's a fart song, too ("Timmy Turtle Head"), so it's got that.
The album is probably most appropriate for kids ages 3 through 9. You can stream some of the songs from the 35-minute album here. Introducing: Jelly of the Month Club won't be for every family -- it all depends on how energetic and inner-7-year-old boy your family likes their music. But there's a lot here to enjoy and dance along with. Definitely recommended.