***Recess Monkey***

With an CD cover like this, you might expect a Beatles-inspired concept album of sorts. Well, you'd be kinda right: the album begins on a "Sgt. Pepper" / "I Am the Walrus" vibe, and includes a "Taxman" clone, with a thread of animal songs (both wild and domestic) running throughout. Sound interesting? It gets better: the tunes on Aminal House are incredibly poptastic, on par with Chris von Sneidern at his best and Jellyfish on a very silly day. Say hi to Recess Monkey!

These three teachers from Seattle who call themselves Recess Monkey released their first CD, Welcome to Monkey Town, back in 2005. Their second is a brilliant mix of melodicism, akin to The Quiet Two (formerly The Quiet Ones); science facts, much like Teacher and the Rockbots; and all-around jollity, a la Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

Aminal House kicks off with a massive string of great tunes, each one better than the last. I mean, just check out the choruses of "Aquarium" and "Zoo Zoo Zoo"; the "Taxman" verse of "KC (He's a Fine Dog)"; the softshoe cabaret of "Fred (The Tabby Cat)" ... just wait 'till the chorus hits and you can totally picture a thousand kids on a hilltop singing, "Meow, Meow!"

The album continues with, among others, the beautiful "Butterfly", the powerpop of "Littlest Monkey", the quiet/loud pastoral "The Rabbits", the piano anthem "Grey Zebra", a little surf rock with "Pet Shark", and the Todd Rundgren-y "Cookie". Throw in a few short, silly skits and some general rowdiness with the Monkey Town characters, and you've got yerself a great presentation!

Incredibly hooky chord changes and sophisticated arrangements elevate this CD far above yer average kids' album; and the spacious, in-the-same-room production is extremely well done. It's hard to believe this is an independent release! and a kids' album, at that! by three silly teachers!

Lots of goofiness, lots of awesome songs, lots of fun. Recess time!

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