'Tuned In' review: Inventive Preschool of Rock thinks of everything for kids

Preschool of Rock's 'Everything Makes a Sound'

Preschool of Rock's "Everything Makes a Sound"

“Everything Makes a Sound,” Preschool of Rock (Preschool of Rock)

Preschool of Rock takes kids on an uncommon adventure they’ll be sure to enjoy with “Everything Makes a Sound.” And better, parents may like it even more than their kids do.

The act masterminded by Michael Napolitano, who honed his chops as a creative associate with the Blue Man Group, doesn’t adhere to the ABCs of childrens music. Napolitano works in his lessons sideways.

For instance, the playful title track uses no traditional instruments, instead getting its percussive roll from a MacGyver-like assortment of impromptu items including keys, a ball, a book, a glass jug, an electric drill and rice.

Elsewhere, the multi-instrumentalist proves his dexterity with the conventional, knocking through the plucky “Off to School” and alternative-ish rock of “Shake It.” Plus Napolitano’s rough, charismatic vocal is a refreshing antithesis to the clear-voiced songbirds who dominate the genre.

But what’s best about “Everything Makes a Sound” is the way Napolitano thinks. And the way he tries to get children to think. One minute, he’s channeling Randy Newman as he sings to an overactive kid, “You gotta breathe ... Oh child, slow down.” The next, he’s racing through the chorus of “Cupcake Song” with, “Run, run, run, run, run little cupcake” on an experimental track that features dramatic tempo shifts. He also will get kids stirred up with the inventive album highlight, a wonderfully weird “Safari Song” that employs jungle drums and Napolitano’s periodically shouted command, “binoculars out!” By contrast, there’s an alluring flow to the rhythm of the lullaby closer, “Song in the Trees,” which will soothe adults as well as the little ones.

“Everything Makes a Sound” gets a little too loose on occasion — in the indistinct fadeout of “And We Dance,” for example, and with the enervating pace of “Jump When I Get Up” — though overall this release is unusually engaging family fun.

Rating (five possible): 3-1/2

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