"Thank You For Joining The Happy Club" epitomizes the not-just-for-kids byline of the family music scene as it exists in 2009. Billy Kelly, who is actually the kiddie rock secret identity of alt-country musician Earl Pickens, has crafted a incredibly listenable, quirky album perfect for every single member of the family, including any just-figuring-out-how-to-be-cynical, too-cool-for-middle-school tweens that may be running around your domicile.
Imagine if Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld wrote lyrics for all-ages music played by an acoustic Weezer (circa mid-90's). Add a hint of Built to Spill from that same time period, and you have something in the "Thank You For Joining The Happy Club" neighborhood.
Billy Kelly's debut kid's record brims with the kind of confidence that terrific musicianship, brilliant lyrics and wonderful vocal performances afford. A gaggle of blips, hisses and sound clips inject a fanciful life into these 10 upbeat songs. Lyrically, Kelly proves himself a master of clever wordplay and insanely funny observations. While a good number of albums in the goofy/quirky category have the ability mesmerize for a spell than fade into novelty, Kelly's songs have a refreshing musical fullness to them that any lover of intricately assembled indie rock will surely appreciate - parent or not.
This record is much more than novelty. It's a fantasmagorical collection of nimble, humorous tunes that should endure the test of time (or at least remain more relevant than today's hot blogosphere hyped indie rock band).
The album opens with the line "This is the first song, the best and the worst song I have played so far". The rest of the self-referential lead song is equally hilarious, including the chorus' "ooooh you are hearing this part of the song once more" and the line "suddenly this little break comes along, seemingly unrelated to the rest of the song" in the down-tempo bridge. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
The title track is just as stellar, with it's lyrical progression charting the listener's movement through the ranks of The Happy Club (from newest member to being elected the President of, all in 3 1/2 minutes flat). The inserted clip of a paraphrased JFK speech is dripping with wit.
I cannot recall a funnier, more intelligently conceived debut family record. Billy Kelly is an "kindie rock" artist worth watching. He could easily become the poster child (liberty being taken calling a 38 year old dude a child) of the indie rock family music movement.
LISTEN TO 1/2 THE ALBUM RIGHT HERE.
BUY BILLY KELLY'S "Thank You for Joining the Happy Club" CD RIGHT NOW. Don't deliberate or discuss with a loved one. Just get it and love it.
Stay tuned to the official Happy Club Website and You Tube Channel for the upcoming Happy Club online variety show. I have it on good authority that the debut episode, Springtime: It's My Favorite, will be posted very soon!