Alexandra and the Good Batch sing the tough stuff

Any children’s musician that pulls off the lyrics “This is a playdate travesty” gets my thumbs up.

The songs on Alexandra and the Good Batch’s first album, Extended Playdate, are precocious, sophisticated and tough in a totally likeable away. Don’t expect little ditties about animals, ice cream and fun, fun, fun. Instead the songs deal with real issues that many kids can relate to – divorce, parents getting cranky and feelings of frustration, confusion and shyness. If this is all sounding a little sombre, think again. The Good Batch delivers a pop album full of catchy tunes that both children and parents will see the humour in.

Lead singer Alexandra Geis saw a musical gap between the simplistic lyrics and rhythms available for preschoolers and the heavily synthesized ‘tween’ music. In writing songs for the Good Batch she wanted lyrics that described emotional experiences children can connect to – “…both child and parent have a chance to vent and laugh as we navigate some tough terrain about having two homes, demanding things of each other and falling apart… Most importantly, it’s about rocking out and loving it!”

Songs such as I Said “Mom!”, Tidal Wave and Crankymomma highlight lots of the emotions children experience. Geis’s sense of humour is evident throughout as this verse of Crankymomma demonstrates –

She dragged me back to the scene in the hall
Where I had done some abstract paintings on the wall
She asked who I thought I was and, “how old are you?”
I gave an alias and claimed to be twenty-two

There are two songs dealing with divorce – Two Homes and Red Dot Daddy. The songs are sensitive and personal and I like that Geis does not attempt to sugarcoat the situation, instead just gives the facts –

I’ve got two homes. I’ve got two homes.
It’s not better; it’s not worse: it just is
My green bike lives at one and my Blue’s at the other
But I can ride super fast both places

I usually try to draw some comparisons to bands you may know, so you get a feel for the sound but Alexandra and the Good Batch have me stumped – perhaps the Indigo Girls when they’ve drunk too much Fanta? (All the melancholy is certainly there but the pop sound bubbles over.) This is a lovely, brave album that will speak volumes to many kids and their parents.

Extended Playdate is available direct from Alexandra and the Good Batch for US$15, which includes shipping.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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