Are You Listening? - The Not-Its

 Are You Listening? cover

Are You Listening? cover

Artist: The Not-Its!

Album: Are You LIstening?

Age Range: 5-9

Review: The Seattle quintet has proven to be a consistently entertaining band over their past five albums.  Their sixth album is another solid effort, a half-hour's worth of pop-rock Pop Rocks, fizzy and playful.  The band is still willing to take a silly, cartoonish route on songs like "Granddad Is a Spy" and "Done With the Science Fair," and parents are more likely than the kids to appreciate the metal thrash of "Don't Fear the Dentist."  But they know their way around (slightly) more mature subject matters -- "Washington, DC" deftly slides from travelogue to encouragement of political engagement, "Bird on a Wire" features an ode to a bird and some killer harmonies, and leadoff track "Dance With Me" includes the best guitar solo you'll ever hear on a basic movement song.  (Stream the album here to listen to these and more.)

With Sarah Shannon's voice as powerful and the band as tight as ever, the band's kinetic energy and occasionally-acerbic-but-never-cynical lyrics continue to keep them in the forefront of modern kindie pop.  It's ear candy for your favorite first-grader.  Definitely recommended.

Note: I was provided a copy of this album for possible review.