The Terrible Twos

If You Ever See an Owl...

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As a member of the pioneering emo group the Get Up Kids, Matt Pryor has got to be one of the most obvious choices for any of his peers to release a children's album, if for the simple fact that his voice is well, perfect for one. After the Kids called it a day in 2005, Pryor turned his attention to the New Amsterdams, and it's that band's lineup that has retooled itself as the kid friendly crew, the Terrible Twos. The mission was to create music to replace the cheese their kids mostly listened to, and the group's ridiculously cute debut, If You Ever See an Owl..., is exactly the breath of fresh air that parents ready to pull their hair out at the mere thought of another hug-filled Barney song need. This is a family album in every sense, since parents will appreciate the band's easy-on-the-ears rock -- hitting relatable topics like bedtime difficulties ("Grumpy Bug") and dinnertime woes ("Pizza & Chocolate Milk") -- and the kids will love the regularly memorable hooks, occasional silly lyrics and always soothing vocals. Simple, warm acoustics and brushed percussion drive this laid-back 15-song set (clocking in at just over a manageable 30 minutes), which benefits as much from good pop songwriting as the band's ability to not sing at kids, but with them. Sure, there's time for teaching things like diversity and tolerance ("We Can All Get Along with Dinosaurs"), simple math ("Math Stomp"), and the proper way to excuse yourself (the adorable "Smickey"), but the Terrible Twos truly succeed in that they can do all of that without preaching. Everything is delivered in the form of inherently innocent, unpretentious and lighthearted songs that are really just plain fun to listen to. And even when the kids aren't around to sing along, it's very possible that If You Ever See an Owl... could stay on in the background. Children's music that's actually good and not grating? Mission accomplished.

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