Recess Monkey has done it again. This Seattle, WA based trio of teachers released early in 2013 an album that is without a doubt one of the year’s best children’s albums in Deep Sea Diver. Now mere months later, the men of Recess Monkey have released yet another impressive new album in the form of Desert Island Disc.
Desert Island Disc is not entirely different from Deep Sea Diver. Its overall sound though, is noticeably different from that album. The overall feel of the album is different, too. And it is that combination of a different sound and feel that makes for a good starting point with this record. Where the sound and feel of Deep Sea Diver was perfectly linked to its nautical theme, so does the sound and feel of Desert Island Disc follow its more tropical, “beachy” theme. The album’s opener, ‘Coconut Radio’ is a perfect example of that more tropical, “beachy” theme. The ukulele, strings, and bongos together backing singer Drew Holloway will instantly conjure thoughts of a sun-drenched tropical island a la Gilligan’s Island (only parents would get that reference). It will have no problem having young listeners (and maybe their own parents) dancing hula style to the music and singing along. Making this song even more enjoyable and funny is the mini-cartoon included in the CD’s packaging explaining how to make a coconut radio. The figure in the instructions must have known the Professor pretty well to be able to construct his own coconut radio ba-dump-bump-bump.
‘Coconut Radio’ is a fun kickoff for Desert Island Disc. It is in fact just the beginning of the album’s fun. Along with its generally fun songs, Recess Monkey also has maintained its reputation of including positive lyrical content in with that fun music. A key example is the equally tropical and “beachy” ‘Trailblazer.’ By itself, ‘Trailblazer’ is another fun song that matches the album’s overall theme. Lyrically, it’s just as family friendly as it serves to build up young listeners’ self-confidence. Holloway sings in the song, “You are a trailblazer/You’re gonna find your path/You leap and you sing now/You make us smile and laugh!/You make us, make us, make us smile and laugh…Dream your dreams/And/You’re gonna find your way/Around the world alright.” Recess Monkey isn’t the only band to craft inspirational songs. But it can be said that in terms of originality in bringing inspirational messages to young listeners, Recess Monkey is one of the most original acts to do so. And for that fact alone, the band and its new album deserves even more credit.
The positive messages and fun music work in tandem throughout Desert Island Disc. They are not just there in the already noted. The band offers its young listeners plenty of choices from which to choose in terms of songs that are both fun and empowering for its listeners. For instance, who but this quirky trio could write a song about a hermit crab and actually make it a fun song that can be taken for the fun opus that it is? Exactly. There are also songs about appreciating the little things in life such as sea glass in ‘My Treasure’ and the one downside of playing in the sun; sunburn. Parents will especially enjoy this song with its obvious Beach Boys influence. They are just a tiny extra sample of what parents and children can expect from Recess Monkey on its new album.
The band is currently touring in support of Desert Island Disc and its companion piece, Deep Sea Diver. So parents and children will get to hear some of the band’s new music before the album is available when they go to see the band live. The band will be in Everett, Washington this Saturday morning performing at the annual Peps-A-Palooza. It will perform alongside The Not-Its and Caspar Babypants among others. And then next Tuesday, the band will perform for the Mercer Island Preschool Association in Mercer Island, Washington. More dates are scheduled from here. Parents can check and see if Recess Monkey will be coming to their town on the band’s official website, http://www.recessmonkeytown.com. And fans can also keep up with all of the latest news from the band on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/recessmonkeytown.
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