When I told my mother that the man I was going to marry was allergic to most animals, she was shocked. Her response? “Wow, you must really love this guy.”
You see, my love for animals has been long lived and hard. I think I started begging for a cat as soon as I could talk. As a young kid, I aspired to be a vet when I grew up. And I’ve been known to sneak in a pet to a passing dog.
So, deciding to spend the rest of my life without a dog or cat was a big deal, but something I was willing to for the love of my life.
My children have inherited my love of animals, and we welcome any trip to the zoo, or even our local pet store to get our animal fix.
Luckily, Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke has released a new album that helps keep us in touch with animals between visits.
I’ve been a long-time fan of the musical work Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke create for families, and their latest album, Animal Tales, which is being released today, is no exception.
Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke are smart songwriters who use their wit to their advantage. They have a distinct sound to their music and alluring timbre to their voices that draws you in and makes you want to keep listening.
Using a wide variety of instrumentation and tempos helps keep their music fresh and exciting, where no one song on their latest album sounds like another, exhibiting the breadth of their songwriting abilities.
Animal Tales is the follow-up to last year’s Pleased To Meet You, and begins where the track “Animal Alphabet” from that album left off. Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke have an appreciation for the underestimated and often-misunderstood animals of the world, like the beetle, the alligator, and the armadillo, and create songs that deliver facts in a fun package.
The album starts off with “Animal Kingdom,” a melodic roll call of the animals that get mentioned on the album. Once introductions are made, the animal party gets in to full swing with songs like “Frog Fiesta.” With it’s Western guitar twang and Mariachi-ish trumpet trills, I can only imagine little frogs in tiny sombreros jumping around to this song.
Bridging musical genres is an artform that Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke have mastered, evident in songs like “Bombardier Beetle,” about a beetle on his last, leg, so to speak. If surf rock married a slower version of the Beastie Boys’ “You’ve Gotta Fight For Your Right to Party”, you’d get this song. And “Hippo Dance” is an upbeat, calypso-style instrumental song with the swing you would imagine a hippo to groove to.
Animal Tales teaches a thing or two about animals as well, on tracks like “Bear Song,” a loping roster of all the bear types and facts. Like, did you know that polar bears are pigeon-toed? The ballad, “Katy Caterpillar” sweetly describes the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly.
“Armando Armadillo” could possibly be my favorite song on the album if I had to pick just one. It’s a cute little song about the hard-working patriarch of a family of armadillos and somehow reminds me a little of ABBA’s “Fernando.”
Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke’s quirky sense of humor is displayed in songs like “Larry the Lobster” – a catchy waltz told from the point of view of the family cat, watching the family aquarium. It seems the lyrics might be touting the beauty of sea animals, only to turn more, uh, delicious near the end of the song.
The low, sauntering waltz of “Alligator Get-Together” has an almost Cake-like quality to it. And never fear, Mr. Clarke’s trademark fast delivery makes appearances in adorably idiosyncratic tunes like “Platypus” and “Beastapuss.”
Closing out the album is “Animal Island,” a pretty little song about an island inhabited solely by animals who get along amicably. Even a possible human takeover can’t discourage this utopia, and the island becomes invisible to preserve it’s accord. The beautiful, harmonious coda at the end is gorgeously sung by Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke like a Bach chorale, layered in a way that emphasizes how well their two distinct voices play well together.
Sure, I can’t pet it or put it on a leash, but Animal Tales is a great way to invite animals in to my home, and I hope you welcome them in to yours!
Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke’s Animal Tales is available now on Amazon and iTunes.