(2014, Apple Eye Productions)
The true test of “family music” is how often you can stand to hear it. That’s you, not your kids, who could probably replay Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” so many times even that would drive you insane. Kids are just like that; they ruin everything. Illustrator/songwriter Morgan Taylor aka Gustafer Yellowgold, however, has figured out how to appeal equally to four-year-olds and 40-year-olds without compromising his musical integrity for either audience. On his latest recording, a kind of dental concept album, he combines the giddy, piano-based melodicism of Ben Folds with the uncanny pop instincts of Paul McCartney and the childlike worldview of They Might Be Giants to make for a unique fusion that actually repays the repeated listening to which parents will inevitably be subjected. Songs range from the XTC-like harmonic pop of “It Suits You” to moody Radiohead-ish electro-rock of “Smilefield” to bouncy, horn-laden, Beatles-esque antics of “I Can’t Feel My Face.” The package comes with an audio CD and a full-length DVD featuring the songs accompanied by Taylor’s animated drawings, lending the entire project a kind of “Yellow Submarine”-meets-Terry Gilliam aspect. You just may want to pack the kids in the car and head out on the long and winding road to enjoy this multimedia extravaganza as a family unit. It’s even possible your kids will grow up having better taste in music for it—and cleaner teeth, too. GustaferYellowgold.com.