I'd like to think that I'm reasonably adventurous in my food tastes, eager to try to new foods from different cultures if they're offered to me. But sometimes I'm perfectly pleased with comfort food -- macaroni and cheese, cheese crisps, a big bowl of cereal.
So it's with that metaphor in mind I offer up Food!, the debut EP from Chicago's Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots. Other than Tatar's willingness to dive deep back into the horn-accented sounds of the '70s, there's nothing particularly adventurous about the music here. It's straight-ahead kid-pop with touches of Chicago (the band), ska, doo-wop, and Randy Newman. And subject-wise, it's seven occasionally humorous songs about, well, food. (And, not to put too fine a point on it, unadventurous foods like grape jam, chocolate milk, and pie.)
But like a good bowl of mac'n'cheese, when done right, this style of kids music can be very satisfying. The multi-instrumentalist Tatar plays in a number of bands throughout Chicago, and the level of production is excellent, with Tatar handling a lot of duties, but also bringing in his friends to fill out the sound. Standout tracks include "The Grape Jam," "Lemonade!," and "Piece of the Pie (Mama's Theme)," all designed to go down easy.
The 23-minute album will appeal most to kids ages 4 through 9. (You can hear a couple samples here.) Food! is a modest but well-crafted debut. Unless you consume it too much, I guarantee no indigestion. Definitely recommended.
Note: I received a copy of this album for possible review.