by Tim Den
Desoto founders/ex-Jawbox members Bill Barbot and Kim Coletta have been toying around (no pun intended) with the idea of creating an indie rock kids album for years now, giving little ones the opportunity to escape from Disneyfied garbage and mainstream schlock while maintaining a sense of fun and learning. On Play, a gathering of critically-acclaimed (not to mention excellent) roster of bad asses converge to help the cause, each contributing songs that are at once playful, intelligent, and addictive. Channels team up with Damon Locks (of The Eternals) for a twisting groover, Georgie James pop-rock out like The Apples In Stereo, Mock Orange turn their trademark prog bluegrass into a celebration of healthy foods, Mirah and Tara Jane O’Neill offer up an orchestrated ditty worthy of MGM classic films, Supersuckers get honky and country fried, and even Mudhoney throw one in (of course, it’s the most distorted and fabulously messy of the bunch). Each will surely be eaten up by young ‘uns, but none dumb themselves down to do so. Sure, the “kids album” vibe permeates throughout the tunes, but so does the intention to write beyond cutesy, empty, sugary hooks. Play can be enjoyed by anyone between the ages of one and 101 because it isn’t aimed to placate and “please” children “just for the time being”: It’s meant to stay with you as you grow up, never becoming kitschy or nauseating. So whether you’ve got a little one or want to feel young all over again, Play is perfect for you.