Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble’s new release, I Like Everything About You is being marketed as a children’s/family album. While it is being marketed to younger audiences, the reality of this album is that it is an album that everyone will enjoy. With its mix of African, Afro-Cuban, Blues and bluegrass, this five member act has crafted an album that is solid from start to finish. The album’s opener, ‘Walkin’ The Dog’, is proof of that. It is a fun, bluegrass style song with music and lyrics that equally infectious. As the included liner notes state, it takes elements of various nursery rhymes and puts them into a setting that will have parents and kids alike singing and whistling) along. And because the mix of rhymes is presented in a bluegrass format, it’s ironically so easy to see the group sitting on a country store porch, singing this to a group of young listeners. It expertly sets the mood for what is not just one of the best children’s albums of the year, but interestingly enough, one of the year’s best albums overall. The songs rooted in African music may are an especially enjoyable addition as they will instantly lead to comparisons to veteran performers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
I Like Everything About You only gets better after the album’s opener. As already noted, this album boasts not just bluegrass and blues, but also an equally solid mix of African and Afro-Cuban music. The latter pair is exactly what audiences get in the album’s second track, ‘Yamawele.’ This song shows the group’s roots in African music both lyrically and musically. It includes the use of what sounds like Agogo Bells, a Talking Drum, and various other African percussion instruments. This song is such an important piece of the overall presentation from Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble in that it isn’t just another song. With such variety of instrument, and the vocals, it serves as an excellent starting point to discuss both a genre of music to which many young listeners may be unaccustomed and a culture to which they may be unaccustomed, too. No doubt with its rhythms and impressive singing, it will impress adults, too. Yet again, it’s more proof of what makes this such an enjoyable record.
Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble proves with the first pair that it means business and that it has more than its share of talent as musicians and vocalist. Things only get better as listeners get into the album’s third song, ‘Body Beat.’ There is no easy way to describe ‘Body Beat.’ This a cappella piece allows the ensemble to exhibit its skills as a step team. The beats created by the ensemble using its own bodies will have listeners of any age grooving. That’s just one part of this song’s success. Listeners will especially appreciate the call and response portions of the song, especially late in the song when that call and response between the group’s members hit a rapid fire pace. That all of the group’s members were able to pull that off without missing even the slightest beat is incredible to say the least. It is that level of talent and skill that makes ‘Body Beat’ one of this record’s absolute best songs, if not its best overall performance.
Things don’t let up at all after the first trio of tracks on I Like Everything About You. Listeners get to enjoy even more mix of African, Afro-Cuban, Blues, and Bluegrass, throughout the remainder of the album’s dozen total tracks. That is exhibited in songs such as ‘CooCoo’, ‘Krin’, and the album’s closer/title track. Lyrically, it’s a simple song. Even as simple as it is lyrically—it is a near nine-minute song with the vocals largely being a repetition of “I like everything about you.” This could be interpreted both in so many positive avenues. And it’s because of that that having been placed at the album’s end, it was a good way to close out the record. These are words that everybody should be saying to one another. And hearing these words as a young one falls asleep will help keep a young listener calm as he or she falls asleep. It’s just one more of so many positive pieces of this standout children’s/family release. I Like Everything About You is available in stores and online now. It can be ordered online direct from the Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble Website at http://www.crosspulse.com/merch-cd-cpe-i-like.html. For more on Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble and its projects, go online to http://www.crosspulse.com.
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