22 October 2007

Mellow Yellow - Gustafer Yellowgold "Have You Never Been Yellow?"

The new Gustafer Yellowgold DVD/CD set was unleashed on to the world last week. Morgan Taylor and his talented Lower East Side cohorts deliver another stellar set of mellow pop goodness on "Have You Never Been Yellow?" - the follow up the the wildly popular "Wide Wild World". The new offering consists of nine beautiful short animated tales/songs that are all at once funny, sweet and charming. There is not as much of a story arc on "Have Your Never Been Yellow" (as there was on the first DVD) but the songs still flow nicely together. What these new tunes do very well is show us Gustafer's love for nature and the creatures that surround him on Earth.

The DVD includes an artist commentary feature that may very well be a first for a kid's flick. While you will probably not huddle up on a weekly basis to listen to this, it is an enjoyable listen. It is rather interesting, and often humorous, to hear Morgan talk about his approach to drawing the scenes for these new songs. Taylor's artistry is as brilliant as ever on these ten shorts. There are so many small details in the scenes that are quite interesting in their nuance. Morgan reveals that he was able to take more time with the illustrations and drew the scenes with the knowledge that they will be animated - something that was not the case the first time around. The attention to detail pays off as the imagery all over "Have You Never Been Mellow?" is stunning, but "The Bluebird Tree" is absolutely gorgeous.

"Pinecone Lovely", the disc's opener, is a near-perfect tune and features an appearance of Crunch-O-Pine (a Gusty web favorite). I cannot say enough about how good this cut is. The bass-only breakdown after the first verse is quite rad. While "Pinecone Lovely" is the finest song here, the other eight are not too far off. Kids will go crazy for "Punching Cheese" the epic follow up to "I Jump On Cake" - extolling Gusty's other favorite food destruction pastime. "Aye, Aphid" was a slow grower for me, but is now seemingly forever stuck in my head - the simple melody is unnervingly contagious. The disc ends with an ode to the earth and the environment and with Gustafer asking us to dream in green with him, with a sing-along worthy crescendo.

I would love to experience some more dramatic tempo changes in future Gustafer tracks, as sometime I feel that the set could use a bit of a kick in the butt - ya know? That being said, top to bottom, Gustafer Yellowgold's "Have You Never Been Yellow?" is still a strong, albeit short (clocking in at just over 30 minutes long), collection of tunes that will have your entire gang singing together locked into a cool, mellow groove.

Buy it now, straight from the source!


Anonymous said...

This is not only the most amazing children's project I've seen in twenty years, it's one of my favorite records, ever, period.

Jeff - OWTK said...

Wow, that is a strong statement! I am glad you are so passionate about Gustafer!