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

Princess Katie & Racer Steve – Tiny Cool CD Review


The Sound: A high-energy, pop rock variety show.

In the Cafeteria, They Sit With: Alexandra and the good batch, The Jimmies, The Sippy Cups

Best Moments: Much like avocado, cilantro, onion, lime and tomato, the intoxicating Latin rhythms and humorous story of “Clelia’s Party” proves a tasty combination.  In listening to the awkward experience of needing to communicate in Spanish in a flash but only being able to rattle off menu items from a Mexican restaurant, you’ll chuckle as you and your kids mambo around the kitchen.  Even Rosetta Stone wasn’t going to help Princess Katie with this dilemma.

The celebratory “Tube Sox” showcases not only Katie Borne’s elastic voice, but also her love of kiddie rock, peppermint and broccoli (sauteed in garlic, if you please).  You may overhear your kids shouting out some of their faves – “Pizza!”, “Ballet!” or maybe “Baseball” – during this one, don’t be alarmed, “Tube Sox” is designed to be interactive and is probably a blast in concert.

If you’ve ever taken your little one to a kiddie rock show (and if you haven’t, what the hell are you waiting for?) “Kids Rock!” captures that moment you discover your toddler has let it all go; wiggling their arms, shaking their rump and spinning around the room as the band shreds on stage.  The drumming on “Kids Rock!” is outrageously good, heck even I was screaming ‘Encore!’ when it was over.

Lots of kiddie bands have songs similar, thematically, to “Honest Kid”.  The difference is Princess Katie and Racer Steve’s doesn’t suck.  The punchy number that sings of the countless virtues of being truthful drips with a Mighty Mighty Bosstones glee and has got a soda fountain shop via Motown sheen. If we still lived in a jukebox world, I’d gladly call up this 45.

Bonus Thought: The players behind the jumpy horns on “Tiny Cool” are some of the fellas from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. They add to the overall authenticity of Princess Katie & Racer Steve’s sound, which is, it turns out, pretty darn authentic.

Bonus Bonus Thought: If you’re reluctant to invite Princess Katie and Racer Steve into your home because you’ve got a nagging anti-Princess stance, like moi, fear not.  There is nothing Princess-y about Katie, save for the get up (the genesis of which is rooted in good, not evil).

Okay, Time to Wrap it Up with a Nice Little Bow: While Princess Katie and Racer Steve never veer too far from their rock-n-roll path, the highway “Tiny Cool” travels does get the band close to some pretty fascinating locales.  This allows the duo to mingle nicely with bossa nova, R&B, surf rock and Latin grooves.  “Tiny Cool” manages to be both focused and diverse, the results of which are, in a word, fantastic.

I’ll admit that it took me some time to come around to the PK&RS phenomenon.  The set up and the costumes seemed a gimmick and I’m always reluctant to go there.  I feel very foolish for that stance now and I’m hear to tell you to forget all the ancillary stuff because it’s clear that this husband and wife duo rock – for reals.  It’s also clear that PK & RS get that kids are awesome and deserve much more than they are usually given, when it comes to entertainment, conversation, respect and such. I, for one, really appreciate that.

Don’t let the title fool you, “Tiny Cool” is enormously cool.

*Princess Katie & Racer Steve’s “Tiny Cool” 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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