Another summer, another Recess Monkey album. No kindie band challenges the kids music reviewer as much as the Seattle trio: their amazing productivity (at least one album a year for the past eight years, plus a second one to be released later this year) and consistently high quality makes it difficult for humble reviewers like this one here to figure out how to say what is essentially the same thing ("this is really good -- you should get it") in new ways. (No, I will not be writing this review in limerick form.)
All the qualities that have endeared Recess Monkey to thousands of families nationally from their Pacific Northwest perch are in ample display on their brand new album Deep Sea Diver . Humor (the wry look at those scavenging birds in the mellow Beatles-esque "Seagull" or the punny title of "Choral Reef"), kid-focused topics (disco-dancing with "Walkie Talkies" and complaining about being short in "Shrimp"), and, yes, hooks galore.
I mean, what did you expect on an album themed around the ocean and water -- of course there would be hooks. The catchiest tracks are front-loaded -- "Tambourine Submarine" is a pure pop hit, and the samba-tinged "The Deep End" will have you singing along with the chorus or dancing (if not both). But there are some gems buried on side 2, as it were -- "Seagull" is a tiny gem of a portrait and the back-and-forth sonic touches on "Making Waves" neatly echo the song's subject.
Musically, Drew Holloway and Jack Forman sound as good as ever, with new drummer Korum Bischoff essentially introduced to the band's audience in track #2 "Fish Sticks" by showing off his ample chops. Friends such as Johnny Bregar and Dean Jones pitch in, and after listening to the strings on "Stranded," somewhere Burt Bacharach is thinking maybe he should do a kids' album.
As with most RM albums, this one's pitched at kids ages 4 through 8. You can listen to the whole 41-minute album here.
So here am I at the end of my review and I still don't know if these words are adequate to convey how great this band is. I'll just leave you then with Deep Sea Diver is really good - you should get it. Highly recommended.