Friday, June 01, 2012

Carnival More Fun Than A Barrel of Recess Monkeys

Freak shows. Dangerous rides. Hucksters stealing your money on the midway.

You won't find any of those dark elements on Recess Monkey's eighth studio release, IN TENTS.

Who hasn't harbored a fantasy of running away and joining the circus (okay, I never gave it a minute's thought, but I'm a sourpuss). But for those with some fraction of their soul left in their bodies, this CD celebrates the positive elements of the circus experience – and what makes it so special to the young of heart.

"Sit and Spin" recounts a child going on what he believes might be a scary ride. When it isn't, he goes right back on and encourages another kid to go on as well:

That was insane.
The Tilt-A-Whirl spun into my frame.
I told the voices that are in my brain it wasn't lame and I'm okay.
Feeling fine, So I decide to run back into line.
And this time I see a boy who's nine looking at me inclined who says, "No way."

Schoolteachers Daron Henry, Jack Forman, and Drew Holloway also visit the "Bouncy House," enjoy the "Carousel," and spend time in the "Odditorium." The trio also drops in on "The Dancin' Bear," who apparently raps in a high-pitched voice (the track works as a kindie tribute to the Beastie Boys).

IN TENTS follows Recess Monkey's pattern of themed CDs, after 2011's FLYING (superheroes) and 2010's FINAL FUNKTIER (space). It takes real determination to find a concept and sell the material, and Recess Monkey is up to the test. And they bring along their friends the Sugar-Free All-Stars, Lunch Money, and The Pop-Ups. Plus you get a lavishly designed CD package from noted children's writer Jarrett Krosoczka (say that three times fast), who has authored and illustrated 18 published books – 10 picture books and eight graphic novels.

When you're with small children most of your waking hours, you develop an innate understanding of what makes them tick – their desires, fears, likes, phobias, questions, and passions. Recess Monkey keeps their opposing thumbs right on the pulse of that diminutive and inquisitive demographic. The trio wants your children to rock out with their socks off (or on). And also to use their imaginations to go in directions they might not have initially traveled.

The guys have left Seattle (their home base) behind and gone on the road – the Recess Monkey caravan now comes to your town via satellite radio, podcast, live performance, or CD. This is one band that cannot be classified as a novelty act. Step right up and prepare to be...entertained!
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