Natural Toy
"Are We Having Fun Yet?"

(NT Records 2003)Natural Toy - Are We Having Fun Yet?

With lyrics like "Is it on? Well turn it up, flip me over, can you get enough?/You turn me on, I'm burning up, flip me over, in the frying pan of love" on the 70s style grooving "The Frying Pan of Love," Natural Toy get your attention right away and provoke a smirk and maybe some dancing. Keeping tongue in cheek throughout the album, the ironic but positive "God Made Me" couldn't be any more syrupy with its chorus of "I am beautiful/Cause that's the way God made me." The up tempo and catchy ragtime of "Women Love To Like Me (They Don't Like To Love Me)" has a certain sing along quality while the tone reminds you of Ween. Reminiscing of young love with subtle innuendoes on "Soda Fountain Of Youth," Natural Toy add harmonica to their consistently smart piano parts while creating a mix of country and blues with Elvis' swagger.

Returning to some ragtime style playing and this time including a mouth harp, "James Earl Me" calls up James Earl Jones ("Any time I pick up the phone, Darth Vader's the dial tone/Why won't he just leave it alone?"), Jimmy Carter and James Earl Ray by the character who, to his slight disappointment, was named James Earl. "Where's Phil?," a tribute to/parody of Dion & The Belmonts' "Abraham, Martin and John," shares the melody of Dion's song and adds Natural Toy's humor ("He'll ramble on like a drunken fool/'Til he pukes out the car door (I love the snow)"). "Love Can Be Blind," with a slightly darker musical feel than the rest of the album, has a nice, understated guitar solo. Not staying serious for very long, Natural Toy offer the smirk-evoking yet slightly creepy "The Jodie Foster Song," complete with a sing along style chorus dedicated to Reagan's attempted assassin, John Hinkley, Jr. ("But we all think it's a shame, too bad John didn't take aim/'Cause she might have loved him/If he could have got one thing straight"). On the album's final song, the slower "Larissa," Natural Toy singer Jeff Kauppi croons questions to Bridgitte Bardot, the President ("Mr. President I can't believe you spent all of our money on cocaine"), and Charlie Brown's little red headed girl: "Why won't you tell me the truth."

Short, sweet and to the point, think of Natural Toy of a toned down (make that very toned down) version of Ween. "Are We Here Yet?" is a fun in its variety of well executed musical styles. All of which get your attention and, at least one, will probably get stuck in your head.

A-

buy it!