Julia Massey and The Five Finger Discount will be performing their latest album, “HeartTones,” which brims with 11 exquisitely charming tracks.
If you’ve ever wondered what kids’ music for adults sounds like, look no further than Seattle’s Julia Massey and the Five Finger Discount. The trio will celebrate the release of its new album, “HeartTones,” at the Crocodile on Jan. 12.
Some might think kids music for adults would sound hokey — like a big purple Barney singing about tax deductibles and car repairs. But when achieved by an artist, the feat employs mystery, shadowy harmony and — yes — plenty of embedded encouragement.
“HeartTones” brims with 11 exquisitely charming tracks, many of which build into blossoming grandeur. Like on “A Bit Of A Hard Time,” where the mood begins bright and cute but grows as Massey (a new mother and working nanny) pushes listeners forward, as if they’re taking their first steps to the rhythm of her falsettos.
Julia Massey and the Five Finger Discount
8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, the Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., Seattle; advance tickets $10, $12 at the door (206-441-4618 or ticketfly.com).
“The 6-year-old I nanny for asked me, ‘What is “HeartTones” about?’ and I said, ‘Most of what I write is about you and your sister and (Massey’s son) Carl, because I spend most of my week with you,’” explains Massey, who plays piano and guitar on the album, backed by Dominic Cortese on drums and Matt Deason on bass.
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While all of the album’s songs are lively and playful, the one that leaps from the lot is “Where Was the Word,” a popping, candy-sticky anthem livened by snares and a constant rise. “And how will I know,” repeats Massey, “if I’m all right?”
The album also features a few lyric-less tunes, which achieve a lullaby effect. They’re ditties a parent might sing or something a Frog and Toad windup music box might chime at bedtime (you had one of those growing up, right?). But on those with lyrics, Massey reminds her listeners to imagine and maintain a natural open spirit.
“Being a mom has changed my life completely,” says Massey. “I write music that Carl likes — I sing to him constantly, and if he doesn’t like it, I can’t go further.”
And while “Heart Tones” in all of its nurturing intention can’t teach listeners every life lesson, the album does maintain a musical space where people can go to feel thought of, appreciated. And for a band that offers so much positive encouragement to its listeners, on Jan. 12 at the Crocodile their fans will have a chance to give some of that back.