The latest release from Earthworm Ensemble, Backyard Garden is more than kid friendly from the get-go. Its cover gives you a heads up that (most of) the disc is packed with songs that any age can relate to about the backyard, gardening and all things eco. All of the songs are great for kids and the, pardon the pun, organic sound of them will allow them to learn and appreciate a wide variety of musical instruments. All of the songs are groovy, upbeat and easy going, but the disc would’ve benefited from being a very strong 10 songs instead of a more bloated feeling 13 songs.
As pleasant as the release is, it stumbles three songs into the CD. The third song isn’t bad; it just doesn’t flow at all with the first two songs. It’s called Sparko Stegosaurus and about what some of the dinos ate, their rivalries and not judging a book by its cover. Set against those the two that preceded it; Ladybug and Backyard Garden, the song’s theme runs against the rest of the songs so much that it distracted me.
Things get back on track with the fourth song, Bees Make Honey, and our backyard adventure is back on. But then, on track six it veers off course again. It’s a nice upbeat song called I didn’t Give Up. It’s all about not giving up and being OK with the fact that sometimes you don’t succeed on your first try. It’s a very good song as you’ll hear & see from the video, but feels out of place on this disc.
The song about composting called Compost is good also. There’s one more song that just doesn’t fit on the disc and, ironically, our favorite song, Picture This You’re A Fish is the next to last song on it. That song has some of the best harmonies on Backyard Garden. It’s reminiscent of many classic upbeat acoustic rifts and set against the dreamy lyrics make the song really stand out for us and our kids. That song alone is worth sticking through the entire disc to hear.
The songs on Backyard Garden have a nice variety in pacing, instruments and their sound. No two songs have too similar a sound or use the instruments to the same degree. It’s a nice, pleasant, toe tapping album that, even with the three songs that should’ve been shelved for another release, will leave you humming in the garden.