"Turn It Up Mommy!"
Chances are kids who receive "Turn It Up Mommy!" from their parents will see right through the ruse and ask: Whose present is this, anyway?
That's because grown-ups will probably crank up "Turn It Up" far more often than their offspring -- especially adults fond of, say, NRBQ or the Traveling Wilburys or just about any variety of Chuck Berry-flavored or Telecaster-twangy roots rock. So what if one of singer-songwriter Jake Flack's catchy chants -- "Please don't play the Wiggles, Raffi or Barney, 'cause right now Mommy I need some rock 'n' roll" -- borders on brain-washing? Desperate times demand desperate measures.
As on the quartet's debut, the songs here are mostly smart and tuneful. But this time around, Flack has taken on the additional challenge of writing for kids and adults alike. In the process, he comes up with some funny stuff, such as the family portrait "Sherpa," which concerns the burdens every parent must shoulder:
"When we're going anywhere, daddy is always packing up the gear / even if we're just walking to the store / looks like we're leaving for a year. / Well, now, don't forget the stroller, don't forget the phone and what about the Teddy bear / Do you have the snacks packed and are they in the backpack and what about the extra underwear?" Flack also contributes "Big Train," a terrific baseball anthem dedicated to Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson.
As for the band's sound, the group consistently emphasizes the fun in rock fundamentals, with guitarist Dave Chappell, bassist Mark Noone and drummer Jack O'Dell generating lots of color and momentum. The only downside is the disc's playing time -- a scant 27 minutes.
-- Mike Joyce
Appearing Saturday at IOTA, with a matinee show for kids and a regular show that night. * To hear a free Sound Bite from the RTTs, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8109. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)