The band Django Jones was born out of the folk-pop band Girlyman -- then on hiatus, now defunct, Girlyman was known in part for its tight harmonies and sometimes sweet, sometimes goofy songs and live shows. The trio -- Doris Muramatsu, Nate Borofsky, and JJ Jones -- turned to Kickstarter to raise funds and attention for their album, and the result, D Is for Django, is formally released this week.
Inside the good 53-minute album is a great album of maybe 30-35 minutes or so in length. Songs like "Counterpoint," which manages to be about counterpoint the musical term and counterpoint the metaphorical concept while being mostly in counterpoint, demonstrate heart and humor and (natch) tight harmonies. "Jack of All Things," about a personal muse, and "Smallest Breed," about Django Jones (the band's namesake, a Chihuahua), effectively convey big thoughts and emotional learning at a kid's level. "Breakfast" is a goofy folk riff, dorky and catchy.
But for me the skits between many of the tracks (which sound a lot more awkward than they would done loosely live) and some of the more obvious "kid" songs like "P-O-P" (about popcorn) and "Bigfoot" sit a little flat next to those tracks. The band may have been trying to make a "kids album," but the album works best when the songs aren't obviously aiming for that target -- they can write good enough songs, sweet or silly, and need not try so hard to please that demographic. The kids'll come along for the ride.
The album will appeal most to kids ages 5 through 8. It's a fun debut from the trio, and I hope that this foray into music specifically for the younger set won't be their last. There are enough wonderful tracks that even though I didn't like all of them, the scale is safely in the band's favor. Definitely recommended.