OWTK Kindie Album Reviews

Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band – I’m So Glad Kid’s CD Mini Review


Despite attending and enjoying their intimate indoor, air-conditioned Philly concert last year, an event most memorable because it occurred smack dab in the middle of an historically insane East Coast heatwave, there’s always been something keeping me at arm’s length from this local-to-me kindie sextet.  The previous albums’ art didn’t help matters, that’s for sure, and neither did the name Kaleidoscope Songs – is it a band, a concept, a menagerie?  I dunno, but it turned me off.  What can I say, I’m fickle, very much so at times.

Most of those boundaries came down like a much less dramatic Berlin Wall after watching the tight band perform in front of inner city campers who’d been fed a steady diet of pop radio’s usual suspects at home (according to their chatty pre-show banter. what? I couldn’t help myself – let’s call it research) yet still went nuts for the band on that day.  Having two youthful, attractive young ladies on stage to engage and lead the even more youthful crowd sure got the kids going, including my kid (I had only Mouse on that hot hot day).  It was a great show, with endearing players genuinely into what they were doing up there.

That concert was captured by a 4-camera shot with the expressed purpose of creating a wickedly good promo video.  And that they did. At the 54-second mark, you can just make out the top of my head in the balcony:

After that, and a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, Alex & Kaleidoscope Band returned to the studio earlier this year with a new lineup (the one I saw perform live) and a new look from an art direction standpoint (muuuuuch better).  I’m now finally ready to buy in to the groove-oriented, world music infused, rich & textured rock-n-roll from these children’s music veterans.

The lead & title track is the best song on the album even if I can’t help but think how crappy a severely handicapped kid would feel if they were listening to the heartfelt sentiments: “I’m so glad that I can move / and use my fingers with my brain / to make a sandwich or even write my name. I’m so glad that I can walk or sit or stand or take a run / my feet will take me everywhere I go”.  Not to say that every song has to be tailored to every kid  (that is not AT ALL what I would ever advocate), but I feel bad for those kids when I listen to this one and generally speaking, I don’t feel bad for anyone.  Still, it is a pretty terrific tune, a perfect table-setting opening cut with verve.

I’ve never been into dinosaur songs.  I guess this makes sense, ’cause I’ve never been into dinosaurs.  Not even as a kid.  I was more a G.I. Joe boy.  But I digress, Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band have a sweet 2-song suite of dinotastic tunes on “I’m So Glad”:  “Dino Dig”, with its big fun chorus, could score your youngster’s next backyard bone expedition with old toothbrushes in hand, while “Tyrannosaurus” is a more dramatic in its approach (see: guitar solos) to those massive creatures.

Thanks to an ethereal Josh Groban-esque tone, the naturalistic “Water Lilly” is the song here that older parents and grandparents may exercise the repeat button for – it is a very tender, peaceful four minute groove.

A worldly flair is injected into all of these good time dance songs, but never at the expense of their American rock roots, with frontman Alex Mitnick’s hearty voice being the spoon that stirs this yummy gumbo.  The album’s animal-centric tunes skew the whole thing younger, meaning that while listeners of any age will find the rhythms tasty, kids 2-6 will likely be the demographic gobbling up the lyrics.

*OWTK received a copy of “I’m So Glad” for review consideration.  The opinions above are honest and unbiased, as always.

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