Best New Children's Music 2012 / OWTK Kindie Album Reviews

Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke – Rise and Shine CD Review


The Sound: A British punk in a Southern town. Quick-witted, quick-spitted wordplay paired with a unique brand of Americana/country music.

In the Cafeteria, They Sit With: Never before have I had such difficulty answering this one.  So, I’m going to hem-n-haw a little…Mr. Oscat, Sandra Boynton (her animal-themed songs), Robbert Bobbert (sorta).

Best Moments: “Counting One to Ten” does for number songs what John and Mark’s “Colors” did for tunes about the color spectrum – that is, raise the bar to soaring new heights for songs with such banal, preschoolish themes.  With lines like “8 red ants dance the night away under bright white lights on the Champs D’Elysess”, the song succeeds by making you laugh while simultaneously painting wildly vivid portraits of animals in unlikely and ridiculous situations.

I’ve had much of this album for many months now and Key Wilde and Mr. Clark’s “Rattling Can” remains a big time favorite.  During our KC Jiggle Jam roadtrip last year everyone in the car took on the challenge of repeatedly repeating the list of lyrical ingredients, trying our best to keep up with Mr. Clark’s increasingly rapid delivery.   It also gave us the perfect opportunity to work on our British accents.  Just like “I Had A Little Dog” (video below), “Rattling Can” is a building block song, piling up phrases while repeating those that came before.  The album stands proudly on the shoulders of these progressive songs, along with 1 up tempo lullaby – the sweet & sublime “Going to the Moon”.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention “Favorite Names”, the punkest of the KW&MC set.  The duo manage in squeeze in two dozen ‘J’ names, and a few Oi!’s, into a 2 1/2-minute span, crossing over into both Spanish and French in the process.  It’s an awesome rock song even if none of the three ‘J’ names in my household managed to make the cut!

Bonus Thoughts: Check out the adorable video for “I Had A Little Dog”, featuring illustrations by Key Wilde.

Bonus Bonus Thought: Like other CDs from the Little Monster label, “Rise and Shine” is packaged exquisitely.  For the price of the disc, you are also getting a board book featuring 10 pages of Key Wilde’s novel illustrations.  Digital music is swell and all, but this is the kind of album you need to hold in your hands (or have your child hold in their tiny hands) while the music swirls around your head.

Photo by Thom Lang

Okay, Time to Wrap it Up with a Nice Little Bow: The 1st (and only) time I met Mr. Key Wilde was over lunch in a Spanish restaurant in Brooklyn.  He was wearing a business casual mix of whites and baby blues, looking as though he’d just left his Savannah, GA law firm.  Audibly, there’s an equally fascinating juxtaposition with Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke.  Their music is an imaginative amalgamation of early 80’s U.K. punk rock styling and charming low country sweetness – kinda like folks in the South making fish-n-chips with catfish instead of cod, which, like “Rise and Shine”, is awesome in every possible way.

Attention Philly-area readers: be sure to catch Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke this coming Saturday morning, January 16th, at World Cafe Live.  For more info and tickets, click here.

*Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke’s “Rise and Shine” was provided to OWTK for review. The opinions expressed above are unbiased and true – no arm twisting took place in the review process.

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