Reviewed by Gregory Keer
If you ask most children, watching Mom or Dad get down with their funky selves when inspired by really danceable music is either hysterically funny or frightfully embarrassing. Well, the kids will have to deal with it once you spin this spirited new album by the Sugar Free Allstars. In fact, the youngsters will probably teach us a few moves as they party with the mix of R&B, rock, and jazz (among other styles) on All on a Sunday Afternoon.
Based in Oklahoma City, the duo of Chris “Boom” Wiser (on lead vocals, keyboards, saxes, etc.) and Rob “Dr. Rock” Martin (backing vocals and percussion) have infused their third family recording with enough brightness to light a street on a hot August night. Sparking much of the music is their love of Motown and Memphis soul as is evidenced by their “Gotta Get Up” track about starting the day, featuring Jack Forman of Recess Monkey and Shawana Kemp of Shine and the Moonbeams. “Sunday Afternoon,” includes help from Trout Fishing in America as it runs a bluesy thread through this ode to unstructured family time. A hard-driving beat (augmented by percussionist Marty Beller) and brass blasts propel “Put ‘Em Away,” which encourages kids to clean up after themselves. “Ready to Give Up Teddy” has a ‘70s groove going in this tune about moving on from a comforting stuffed animal.
Inventiveness abounds on the album as the Sugar Free pair employs onomatopoeia on “Hiccup” to explain the science of a hiccup and raises the roof with gospel on “99 Questions” to teach the truth about the value of being inquisitive to learn anything in life. Even a cover of the Talking Heads’ “Stay Up Late” feels fresh with Chris Wiser’s fatherly phrasing.
While I would never accuse these Allstars of being sugary, “Very Best Friend” is a mid-tempo song about being buddies that hits the heart. Whether it’s the heart or the feet that are affected by this recording, it is one that should be playing in your house or car this Father’s Day and beyond.
www.sugarfreeallstars.com– $12.99 (CD)/$9.99 (Digital) – Ages 2 to 11