What do you want to be when you grow up? Andrew & Polly have figured out that there's a future to be made in staying young. The married Los Angeles duo produce music for Nick's Wallykazam as well as film and television. But their passion is children's music, as they demonstrate with their nifty new kids podcast, Ear Snacks, and their second full-length CD, ODDS & ENDS.
Polly Hall and Andrew Barkan met in college and began a life partnership that includes the aforementioned projects (as well as one-year old Izzy). Their children's music is almost a distraction from the real world, however they've managed to squeeze in recording time in their home studio. It helps that they can play all the instruments (except banjo and trombone). ODDS & ENDS sprints along at a brisk 28 minutes with 10 tracks meticulously crammed into order. Highlights include a rousing kid chorus on "Ghostbusters" (which points out that in the Age of the Internet, it would help to have your phone or contact information in your theme song) and the lively summer single "Grapes," which is gaining momentum on SiriusXM's KidsPlace. A lilting version of Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" defines Andrew & Polly's mission statement to remain young at heart. The often-recorded "Here Comes the Sun" closes out the disc by whistling through a nostalgic note of optimism.
The challenge with all recording artists is to continue sounding fresh and new while mining for material in their own lives. As their careers progress (and their son matures), we'll see how well Andrew & Polly deal with the curveballs that inevitably come everyone's way. As Roger Day once told me, he started out with simple movement songs that amused his young children, evolved into a storyteller to keep their interest, and now records educational tracks that are used in junior and high school science programs.
The line of delineation for any children's CD is whether or not the original songs hold their own against the covers. By using George Harrison and Bob Dylan as their yardsticks, it's almost an impossible task for Andrew & Polly. However young listeners may prefer "Little Bitta You" and "Fruitphabit" to the loftier and philosophical messages from those classic rock icons.
The world can be a confusing, messy place and kids in general often find themselves messy and confused. Andrew & Polly get down in the trenches and deliver wholesome, friendly music to redirect them from kiddie chaos back to the structured, nurturing arms of their parents. Not to mention their parents' CD player or portable music device. Life through Andrew & Polly some curveballs and it took them five years to mount their second CD. Let's hope their son Izzy isn't old enough to producing their music the next time they get around to recording another collection of songs.
ODDS & ENDS is available September 25 from Andrew & Polly's website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes. Visit the website for a link to grab their Ear Snacks podcast.
Here is the video for Andrew & Polly's song, "Please Be Mine":