Whether one is a parent, educator, or just music lover, one cannot deny that family music albums are constantly some great entertainment. That is due to the musical diversity that so many of those albums offer, as well as oftentimes, the records’ lyrical content. This critic has proven this time and again over the years, even as recent as this year. The Story Pirates’ new album The Strawberry Band is no exception to that rule. Scheduled for release Friday through Face Cake Records, the 12-song record will entertain audiences of all ages just as much as the band’s existing albums and just as much as any family music act’s offerings past and present. That is due in no small part to the overall approach to this record. It will be discussed shortly. The record’s featured musical arrangements add their own appeal to the album and will be discussed a little later. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical content puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation and will be discussed later, too. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make the album one more candidate for a spot on this year’s top new family music albums.
The Story Pirates’ forthcoming album The Strawberry Band is an outstanding addition to this year’s field of new family music albums. It stands out among this year’s field of new releases in part because of the approach that the band took to the record, making it a fun, family friendly concept album. Yes, it is a concept album. Few children’s albums out there can say they are concept works, considering that such works are saved more for grown-up albums. The closest that any family music act’s work comes to being concept are Doctor Noize’s stories of Phineas McBoof, who is a musical monkey. Getting back to The Story Pirates’ new album, the story featured in this record centers on a Beatles-esque band called….well…The Strawberry Band. The set-up story, which opens the album, was developed by one of the band’s 5 year-old fans. The rest of the songs that feature throughout were allegedly developed through story ideas presented to the band by its many young fans. That the band would so openly and warmly develop a record – and a concept record no less – that was essentially made by and for its fans makes this approach especially unique and appealing. The work that the band did to connect the overall concept is just as unique. So all in all, the approach that the band took to this its fourth album is something special in its own right. It in itself makes this record well worth hearing. It is just one part of what makes the album so appealing. The musical arrangements that make up the record’s body add their own appeal to the presentation.
The musical arrangements featured throughout The Strawberry Band are so important to note because of their diversity. Right from the record’s outset, listeners are treat to a work in ‘The Strawberry Band’ that is a catchy, funky, bass-driven work that sounds like it came right out of the 1960s and 70s. That this Beatles-inspired band is basically supposed to be performing the work adds to the special touch. It will put a smile on any listener’s face. Parents and older listeners in general will especially love the little tribute to The Beatles’ ‘Hold Your Hand’ that is incorporated into the song. The hip-hop/vintage R&B sound of its immediate follow-up, ‘The Case of the Musical Cinnamon Buns’ will appeal just as much to audiences of all ages while the silly story of…well…musical cinnamon buns will entertain younger listeners. That musical approach is so infectious. It will introduce younger listeners to such a great genre while also offering something equally entertaining for older audiences. As if that is not enough, those familiar with pop music from recent years will recognize a comparison to Taio Cruz’s hit song ‘Dynamite’ in ‘Hedgie in the Cloud Kingdom,’ which comes a little later in the album’s 42-minute run time. The similarity is not a mirror image, but it is close enough that audiences will easily make the connection. On yet another note, ‘Glowy and the Friend Adventure,’ the album’s mid-point, is just as easily comparable to Jason Mraz’s hit song ‘I’m Yours.’ Again, it is not an exact copy, what with the use of the muted trombone and overall approach. However, the general, overall sound makes no doubt, the influence. To that end, it will entertain older listeners just as much as any of the album’s other musical arrangements. On yet another note, there is even a comparison to Alanis Morisette’s classic rock hit ‘You Oughta Know’ in ‘The Night I Started Sharing a Room With My Sister.’ Once again, the comparison is not precise, but the vocals, drums, bass, and guitar still make that comparison relatively obvious. So yet again, here is a way for the album’s musical content to appeal to older audiences just as much as children. The tributes to classic music do not end there. The brief ‘The Strawberry Band (Reprise)’ pays tribute to George Harrison’s ‘Got My Mind Set On You,’ adding even more to the record’s musical appeal. Those songs (and others featured here) will also serve as a starting point for those older audiences to introduce their own children to their music and bond with them even more in the process. Keeping all of this in mind, it should be clear why the musical arrangements featured throughout this album are so important to its presentation. When they are considered along with the album’s very approach, that whole more than makes the band’s new forthcoming album a pleasure to hear. They are just a portion of what makes the album enjoyable. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content and story put the finishing touch to the presentation.
The lyrical content that is featured in The Strawberry Band is important to note because it is just as diverse as the record’s musical content. As already noted, one of the album’s early entries – ‘The Case of the Musical Cinnamon Buns – is about a bunch of musical cinnamon buns. It is just a fun, random story. There is also a story about a fairy that lacked wings featured here. The song delivers a message to listeners about taking pride in one’s self even if one might not look like others or have the same abilities as others. This is a message that again, listeners of all ages will appreciate. It adds even more enjoyment and importance to the album’s lyrical content overall. The band also promotes making friends with a diverse range of individuals because of their diversity through ‘Glowy and the Friend Adventure.’ This is (sadly) a message that grown-ups should heed just as much as children. That is especially the case today considering the world’s current social climate. These noted songs and the album’s others were from the band’s young listeners, making them all the more impacting, when one takes the silly and serious all fully into account. It all comes together to show without any doubt, just how important the album’s lyrical content is to its presentation. When all of this is considered along with the importance and impact of the album’s musical content and overall approach, the whole makes The Strawberry Band a “sweet” new offering from The Story Pirates.
The Story Pirates forthcoming album The Strawberry Band is a presentation that will appeal just as much to grown-ups as it will to children. That is proven in part through the record’s approach. The approach in question is that of a concept album. Few other family music albums make and have ever made concept albums for the whole family. The record’s featured story is itself unique, making for even more appeal. The musical arrangements that are presented throughout the story offer plenty for children and grown-ups alike plenty to enjoy. They will in turn, make for a great way for families to bond just over this aspect. The lyrical themes, which are presented from stories sent to the band by its young fans, add even more diversity to the album. Some are silly. Some are serious. They are all accessible for listeners of all ages and presented in equally accessible fashion. They put the finishing touch the album. When they are considered along with the album’s approach, its story, and its musical arrangements, that whole makes The Strawberry Band an easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new family music albums. It is scheduled for release Friday through Face Cake Records
More information on The Story Pirates’ new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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