It's not all that often that I get a CD that (a) I instantly know I'm going to like all the way through by listening to the first song, and/or (b) I move to the top of my "need to listen to" pile just because of the album art. Both are true about The Little Ones' Sing Song EP. Last week when I opened a jiffy pack and pulled out a CD from a band I had never heard of called The Little Ones, I thought for a second that it might actually be the new Shins album (until I read the cover). I put it in right away anyway, literally because the album art looked just like The Shins last LP, so I figured it couldn't be all bad. Amazingly, it wasn't just not all bad, it was really, really good. Opening track, "Let Them Ring The Bells," begins with thumping, bombastic drums and some "woah woahs" sung in two-part harmony before jumping right into some chilled-out lead vocals, even more "woah-o-o-os" and a sing-a-long chorus about ringing the bells in every key (hence the song title).
The EP is much more put together musically and lyrically than most of the stuff that rolls across my desk on its way into the "no thanks" pile (it's clearly a complicated system that I maintain), and I knew at the close of song one that the rest of the EP had more, stupendous surprises in store. The peppy "Lovers Who Uncover" is full of hand clapping, foot stomping goodness, "Cha Cha Cha" has plenty of "La La Las" and is sure to get your head bobbing back and forth, Beach Boys stylee, and "Oh, MJ!" is stuffed with nimble lead guitar work, bouncy, leap frogging keyboards and is destined to get indie butts shaking all summer long. This self-released EP has done exactly what it was supposed to - leave critics and fans alike craving more. Kudos to you Little Ones. I look forward to seeing you grow.
PS: Oh, and it turns out that Jesse Ladoux (who did the artwork for The Shins' Chutes Too Narrow) also did the cover art for The LIttle Ones' Sing Song EP.