Pants and Mammals. We find ourselves yet again in Canada, which regular readers of this column will know I have declared as the top country for English language children's music.
Now, a children's album called "Pants and Mammals" has to be pretty cool for kids - and the picture on the back of the CD sleeve makes the album simply irresistible for children: A fun yet cool picture of an antelope on double bass, a wolf on trombone, a buffalo on drums and a kangaroo on guitar. And luckily, the music on “Pants and Mammals” fully upholds the promise of the album title.
I have reviewed a previous album of Canadian band The Kerplunks in this column (their 2010 album Number 3). I was not fully convinced by that album, so I am delighted to say that “Pants and Mammals” is a superb album of music for kids.
On the album, the Kerplunks manage to bridge the challenge of combining cool and fun music with educational topics that encourage children to explore the world. The music takes inspiration from all sorts of music styles, packaging the kids lyrics into a successful contemporary style appealing to young and old. The four-piece band play a wide range of instruments, from piano and guitars via brass instruments to drums, cowbell and even an old suitcase!
The lyrics of the songs are educational without being lecturing. "Water from a tap" is about the importance of drinking water, and is packaged in an upbeat groovy rock number with a catchy refrain. One half of the title songs, "Mammals", is my younger daughter's favourite which she wants to listen to repeatedly; it is a lovely jazzy ragtime number sung to a wonderful lively piano music, and cleverly explains what mammals are. The other half of the CD title “Pants” is a fun song about clothes – where you will find out that pants will keep your bum happy and they look very snappy.
British children and parents will know the CBeebies series "Nina and the Neurons" – the Kerplunks have nothing to do with Nina however this album features directly two songs which would make perfect new theme songs for new series: "Technology" and "Everday science". There's a blues rock song "I can read" celebrating in a fun way the joys of being able to read, and a reggae inspired “Good question” to inspire curiosity in children. And I have to mention what could be my personal anthem "Cake" – “there's always room for cake”! Through in a latin style instrumental, the topics of starting a band, dancing and a funtime spree outside, mix this with bits of reggae, pop, rap, jazz and more – and then finish off with a couple of lullabies.
And when the album reaches its end you can be sure that the kids will ask to listen to it all over again - or in the case of my younger daughter to listen to the song "Mammals" a few more times! And it’s a sign of its quality that even the parent doesn’t mind to listen to the CD a second time in a row.
A great fun album which I have had a lot of fun to listen to and review. A top children's CD recommendation.
Photo Credits: (1)-(2) The Kerplunks (unknown/from website).