Three years is an eternity in kid's music. If the average age of your fan base is 6-7 years old, they can grow completely out of your demographic in that timeframe. It's especially dangerous for a novelty act. Raffi vanished for 10 years yet returned this spring for a triumphant tour (fueled by nostalgic parental memories, as I doubt the venues were packed with Baby Beluga-garbed goth teens).
From the void re-appear Princess Katie and Racer Steve. As if resuscitated ala Cinderella via the kiss of a handsome, wandering Prince, the duo have returned with their fourth CD, LOVE, CAKE, AND MONSTERS. It's their first new release since 2010 yet the pair are back with nary a false step nor a speck of dust.
When we last left Katie O'Sullivan and Steve Borne, they were honing their outreach efforts for abused, neglected, and at-risk children through a high-energy multi-media presentation of music and skits. This new collection fits nicely into their oeuvre, with disco-fied takes on fighting ("Hug It Out" and "Take It On Over [Time Out]") and dancing ("I Got This").
Lyrically, Katie and Steve present simple kids concerns in an understandable format. As per the performers, there's some wackiness and imagery. In "Comet Pinky's Love Cake," the lead character bakes his products with love. In the adjacent skit, "Mr. Stanstiglioni," a monster buys a cake to win the affections of his ladyfriend. Another terrifying figure seeks employment in the next skit, "Monster Gets a Job." Just in case the tykes start to believe such creatures exist, never fear – there's the therapeutic "Hey, Monster" to clear things up:
Hey, Monster! We don't believe in you
No matter what you try to do
We know you're not real.
Production-wise, LOVE, CAKE, AND MONSTERS is as smooth and shiny as one can expect (from a kid's CD not produced by Dean Jones, that is). A sound engineer by trade, Steve Borne fills your speakers with instruments and sound effects. Not to mention some exceptional guitar licks. Vocally, Katie O'Sullivan is no girl soprano. She (and AudraRox to some extent) provide hope and inspiration to lovers of a deeper, full-throated sound.
It's a little mystifying that this CD is being released in July with a monster theme, complete with the album-ending tale, "HALLOWEEN," featuring the 53-piece Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra. But good things come to those who wait, and fans of Princess Katie and Racer Steve have certainly waited long enough for their next endeavor.
LOVE, CAKE, AND MONSTERS is available on Princess Katie and Racer Steve's website, Amazon, CDBABY. and iTunes.
Here is the video for "Sand in My Sandwich" from TINY COOL: