Monday, November 24, 2008

***Dog On Fleas***

In my extremely humble opinion, Dog On Fleas are one of the few kids' bands who make an effort to stretch out and grow as artists. Dig their riverboat/back porch/one-microphone approach on 2003's Cranberry Sauce Flotilla, and their solid pop/rock/world sound on 2006's When I Get Little. This year's Beautiful World, their fifth CD for kids, is a great collection of unmistakablely Dog On Fleas tunes, augmented by analog Moog synthesizers and whispers of electronica.

The album kicks off with the title tune, which mixes 6/4 and 4/4 metres with piccolos and flutes to create a world music ode to our world. Next is John Hughes' thumping tune of affirmation, "Star Tonight," then comes the head bobbin', in-your-face bass of "Do You Wanna Know My New Dance Step?" or, as my wife exclaimed, "Hey! Justin Timberlake for kids!" And the mysterious-sounding "Water Planet," with its Zappa-esque horn/woodwind arrangement, views Earth from an alien perspective.

John Hughes' beautifully simple "The Beach Song" puts your toes right in the Hawaiian sand, and the rockin' "Dumpling" takes a metaphysical look at existence. The wonderfully nonsensical "Lima Bean," featuring vocals from Lorette Velvette and Uncle Rock, contains awesome lines like "Lima Bean's lookin' in a full-length mirror /Singin' Rod Stewart so the whole town can hear her"; the Ben Folds Five-inspired "Crawl To Your Mother" is then followed by a waltzing "Where Would You Fly?" featuring Ben Richter's musical saw.

"I Love Your Accent" celebrates one world made of many people with the mantra "I love your accent! Where ya from?"; the buzzing new wave/rowdy New Orleans rock of "Unbirthday" dares listeners to sit still! Good vibes are flowing on the vegetable-lovin' "Sittin' in the Field," while the jazzy "Balloon Man" asks the amusing question, "Do you like Pop Music? Ahh ... probably not!" And the album ends with the pretty pop of the word-filled "Birds of a Feather", and the quiet lullaby to tiny tots 'round the world, "Babies," featuring Frances England.

This Hudson Valley, NY, collective of musicians and artists have been performing together for ten years now, and their combined experience together as bandmates and songwriters just makes them that much better. Look around you: it is a beautiful world, and Dog On Fleas are happy to tell you all about it.


Saw Lady said...

Thank you for the info about this album - I am always happy to discover bands that use the musical saw. I will look for Ben Richter in order to invite him to the next NYC Musical Saw Festival.

All the best,

Saw Lady

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