Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reviews:: Jenny Omnichord - Charlotte or Otis: Duets For Children

As you may have been informed by the preponderance of holiday specials on your television, or the holiday muzak that is in full effect no matter where you go, the holiday season is well and truly upon us. As such, I'm in a giving mood. Specifically, I'm here to give you the perfect gift idea for that hardest of hard individual on your listen: the Canadian indie music fan with children. Believe me, that group is a hard group of chestnuts to crack (or roast), so I give you Charlotte or Otis: Duets For Children by Jenny Omnichord & friends.

I don't mind telling you I had no idea what to expect from this album. I knew Jenny Omnichord to be the pre-eminent source of Omnichord-powered, quirky pop songs in this country, but I wasn`t sure if an album of her singing kids songs, even with the assistance of Canadian indie stars like Tony Dekker and Old Man Luedecke, would be something I`d prefer to expose my progeny to. It turns out, it is. Often artists tend to overdo the "kid-ness", for lack of a better term, when attempting to make songs for kids, and this usually results in songs most adults would prefer to never hear again after humouring the kids with an initial listen. But Jenny, and her assembled guests, have put together a collection of fun, heartfelt songs, with simple melodies that should appeal to both kids and their parents.

Album opener Charlotte or Otis, which features Jenny's baby daddy, lead two minute miracle worker Andy Maggofin is a great example of why I like this album. The song itself is bouncy and cheerful, which should appeal to kids, but the story of how they found out Jenny was pregnant earlier this year, while really rather endearing, will likely only be enjoyed by their son once he's long out of diapers. That said, there are plenty of songs with kid-centric subject matter, like the alien bug-eating extravaganza of Planet Zorn, which features Kim Barlow, and my favorite song on the album, Do You Know Karate?, which features not only Tony Dekker, but Wu-Tang-esque fighting sound effects, which is truly a winning combo.

There are also some just plain fun songs, like the Shad & Jenny rap along The Old Prince, which revives Shad's persona from his much lauded recent album. I also enjoy the peppy Sleep Rockin', which features Islander Jim Guthrie, and My Baby's Pregnant which features the hill-approved banjo stylings of Chester's banjo king, Old Man Luedecke. Even the rather intense Chris Adeney, aka Wax Mannequin takes a tender turn for the kids on Lady Moon.

If you have kids, or know someone else that is Doodlebopped out, give Charlotte or Otis a chance. It is really a sweet little labour of love that adults may actually appreciate more than kids, but it's certainly something to put on while you and the kids kick it. And you can take my word for it, I'm a dad after all, the Ack can back me up on that.

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Posted at 1:30 PM by naedoo :: 2 comments

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At 11:56 AM, Blogger Tristan did sayeth:

i got to see jenny, and Mathis Kom(the burning hell) preform their duet a few times this fall, it was wonderful.

when they did it at sappyfest it was one of the high-lights of the festival.

what a great album.


At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Paul did sayeth:

I second Tristan's comment: their performance at Sappyfest was fantastic. Sure, I may have a bias because I filmed it, but ooh boy what magic when that dog barked.

Also, as a childless non-daddy I can wholeheartedly say that I still really enjoy this album.


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