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Album Review

Recess Monkey's Wonderstuff is music for 5- to 10-year-olds who've never been discouraged from exploring their nascent hipster sides. Which is to say that cool parents — grups, kidults, what have you — are going to love this double-disc. And don't let the long playtime fool you: Everett the Wonderbee, the character who drives these near-perfect pop songs, makes the extended journey through kidville and the endangered meadow he calls home well worth your while. Not that you're bound by the story, complete with clever inter-song narration — for those past puberty, it's the music and singing that will grab hold hardest, actually. The Byrds, the Beach Boys, and the Who join the Fab Four as easily discernible influences here; old-school learning songs like "My Pet Rock," "Round and Round," and "Down Down Down" lend a weird authenticity. In the end it's the contagious enthusiasm of this Seattle band and the gaggle of summer campers who gave shape to some of the vocals that linger, though. Few kids' discs earn the right to be called epic. But for Recess Monkey the title is within reach. And on Wonderstuff, they yank it down like a bunch of ripe bananas.

Wonderstuff, Recess Monkey
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