Recess Monkey’s new album In Tents is the Magical Mystery Tour for kid’s rock, only Recess Monkey does a much better job of putting together a concept album in this case. With a storyline further expanded in the CD booklet by Kevin Fry, Recess Monkey takes ownership of a magical circus and explores all facets of it with fun songs such as “Sit and Spin”, “Human Cannonball” and “Odditorium” among others. Overall, there are three great things about this album (and all three apply to the earlier Recess Monkey albums as well): first is the sense of fun which permeates the album. You can tell that these guys are having fun creating this music and the playfulness extends to the lyrics and music; second, the imagination, both in conceiving the album and as in imagination inspired in the listener.
It’s hard not to listen to these songs without imagining the circus and all the aspects of it, and for any kid that has dreamed of running off and having crazy adventures, this album takes them there but the songs also have meanings beyond the concept of the circus, such as in “I Could See (Magically)” which makes a trip to the optometrist into an almost superhero outfitting experience; and third, is the musicality at work here. Recess Monkey has been described before as having a Beatles influence to their sound and that certainly does come forth here but with certain indie rock sensibilities that keep the songs sounding fresh and contemporary so that what aspects they do derive from the Beatles are without a staleness of imitation. In Tents once again provides music that while being for kids, should be fun for listeners of all ages. It is not tired or trite music, it has protein and kick and will survive multiple listenings. my only wish was that it came with a DVD of their circus shows with Seattle’s Teatro ZinZanni, which one can only imagine must have been truly magical experiences.
In Tents by Recess Monkey is out now.
A CD was provided for review.