Tuesday, June 12, 2007

***The Terrible Twos***

Finally, the "Smile" of Children's Music, the one that was forever coming out next month, snippets of which were heard here and there on the Internet ... does it live up to the hype? Yep, and lemme tell you why.

If you don't buy If You Ever See an Owl ... because of Matt Pryor's love of Beatle-esque chord changes and melodies, if you don't make this purchase for the "can't help but sing along" aspect of every song, if'n you don't plunk down yer hard-earned cash just to complete your Get Up Kids/New Amsterdams discography, then make this album part of your music collection for the following reason: this record contains a certified folk masterpiece that transcends time ... "A Rake, A Broom, A Mop, A Shovel" could be a direct descendant of Woody Guthrie's "Grassy Grass Grass" and Ella Jenkins' "Ten Green Bottles" in that the song's simplicity is what makes it brilliant. It's very difficult to write a good simple song. This little tidbit is guaranteed to be curated as part of some postmodern folk collection, for sure.

Good music is good music, and the Terrible Twos' debut boasts several top-notch pop tunes in "Ladybug", "When I Get to Eleven", "Pizza and Chocolate Milk", "We Can All Get Along with Dinosaurs", and the title tune. With four songs named for girls ("Heather in the Heather", "Vivian", "Caroline", and "Isabella") and another specifically about Pryor's son ("Littlest Houdini") the album is at the same time intimately personal and universally relevant. And the spirit of Schoolhouse Rock is called upon for "Math Stomp", a sooperdooper song about ... math, of course! Add the math mantra "Oneplusoneistwo" and the nightynight tune "Grumpy Bug", and you've got yerself a wonderfully entertaining album from top to bottom. And look for a follow-up album, tentatively titled Jerzy the Giant, sometime in the fall. Yay!

It's widely known that the Terrible Twos are the New Amsterdams, so give it to those guys for recording an album of great tunes that can be appreciated by any age. In fact, the best way to describe the whole project would be to quote Pryor from the Vagrant Records website: "I'm just an artist who made some music children like". Let's hope more musicians follow his lead.