The band kicks off the album with “Buzz Buzz,” and immediately the album’s title proves accurate. This song has a delicious energy, featuring some nice work on organ. It is about bees, and how they communicate. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “And all the bees say buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz/And they do a little dance, because/It’s a way to share their messages quickly.” It’s a fun number, no question. It should get the little ones dancing, and maybe the adults in the room as well. That’s followed by “Counting On My Brain.” This song’s first line made me laugh out loud the first time I listened to it: “You’ve got one, one little brain in your head.” This song describes the parts of the brain, and is also a counting song. This one features some wonderful stuff on piano. And this is the track that TJ Lipple also plays trombone on, and that instrument adds even more energy. Plus, there is a great joy in Marsha’s vocal delivery. Again, adults will enjoy this as much as children.
SaulPaul joins the group on vocals on “Starlings,” delivering a rap in the second half: “It’s okay to be different/You can do your thing.” Melvin “Tony” Harrod joins the band on electric guitar. On this song, Marsha sings, “When we are together, let nothing divide us/The starlings fly/Shapes in the sky/Never collide.” The song is about groups of birds moving together in those great, ever-shifting shapes. Then “Whether The Weather” has a cool, jazzy vibe, with TJ Lipple playing vibraphone. Melvin “Tony” Harrod plays on this track too, delivering some really nice work on guitar. And Joe Lipple joins the group on upright bass. The song is about checking with a meteorologist before getting dressed and heading out, and provides a reminder to wear sunscreen, something my dermatologist is adamant about.
As I mentioned, adults can enjoy these tracks just as much as kids will. But also adults can learn a thing or two. As for me, I knew very little about ghost forests before listening to “Ghost Forest Investigators.” I also appreciate the playfulness of the song’s title, as well as some of the lyrics, joking on the idea of paranormal investigators, with Marsha singing, “That grayish white hue makes me think you’ve got ghouls hiding near.” And then she educates us: “When you walk in the woods, those waves should be out of reach/The bark fell off, the trunks turned white/The leaves could no longer grow and stay green/Sea level rise, that’s what made this spooky scene.” And again, it is all delivered with a great energy. The whole family can learn while dancing. “Meet Me In My Dreams” is one of my personal favorite tracks. I dig the groove right from the start, and the friendly vocal delivery. But it’s also this song’s lyrics that make it so appealing. Here is a taste: “Sometimes you’re pulled away from an amazing day/When the alarm clock calls you to reality/What if you meet me in my dreams/Outside it’s dark skies, stars and moonbeams/But when you meet me in my dreams/I want it to be as real as it seems.” Adding to this song’s magic is Chelle Fulk’s work on violin. David Strauss plays guitar on this track. Then “Kinetic And Potential Energy” has a good pop energy, particularly during the chorus.
Keith Grimwood, one half of the duo known as Trout Fishing In America, joins Marsha And The Positrons on “Road To Bremen,” playing bass. This is a fun song about music, and different instruments are added one at a time. Marsha sings, “We also need a bass line/So everybody get down low/We’re going to make some music/Sing along, how low can you go?” And Keith Grimwood has a chance to deliver a great lick. Then when the piano is introduced, we get a bit of Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer.” It’s a fun, cheerful number, and it includes some nice work on accordion. That’s followed by “Shoelaces,” another song with an opening line that makes me laugh, “Shoelaces always come untied.” Ah yes, I find they come untied when I’m out, and then when I get home they are in some kind of demonic knot that requires force and concentration and prayer to untie. But one thing I love about the beginning of this song is that it opens with a burst of energy, then comes to an unexpected halt before that first line. And that’s just how it is when you run outside only to have to stop to tie a shoelace. Tina Kenny Jones provides some delightful backing vocals on this track, and Russ Jones is on electric guitar.
“No More Doctor Blues” is about going to your regular checkup, something I need to do soon, though there are no toys in the waiting room where I go. What’s up with that? “I’m not scared of my shots,” Marsha sings in this one. “When I was even younger/I used to be afraid of shots/I worried and felt anxious/My stomach was tied up in knots.” That was true of me when I was younger, and it’s true of me now. But maybe when I’m in my sixties or seventies, my fear of needles will disappear. Probably not. Leo Lipple provides some backing vocals on this one. That’s followed by “Fly Ladybug Fly,” which is about finding a ladybug inside and urging it to return to the great outdoors. The track contains some good work on saxophone. Then “Sound Of The Cicadas” has a pleasant vibe, and provides plenty of information on the insects. Plus, I appreciate Marsha rhyming “cicadas” with “hiatus.”
“We’re going to the library/Adventure awaits inside,” Marsha sings at the beginning of “We’re Going To The Library.” Then she sings, “Working our way from A to Z/Through every age of history.” Oh, that is a dream of mine, to start at one end of a library, and read absolutely everything (well, with a few exceptions, such as anything by Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh). Wouldn’t it be great to have that sort of time? Anyway, this is another delightful track. That’s followed by “New Leaf,” a sweet and soothing number. “I’m starting fresh/It’s going to be fine/If you put your hand in mine.” I like that work on piano. The album concludes with “High Fives,” in which she sings about positive energy: “It’s my positive energy/That keeps me happy/And when our hands touch, it’s true/You’ll feel that positive energy too.” On this track she is joined by Jamaal “Black Root” Collier on beat box. And Dumi Right does a rap in the middle: “Every time it happens, we all feel good/I’d give the whole world a high five if I could.”
CD Track List
- Buzz Buzz
- Counting On My Brain
- Whether The Weather
- Ghost Forest Investigators
- Meet Me In My Dreams
- Kinetic And Potential Energy
- Road To Bremen
- No More Doctor Blues
- Fly Ladybug Fly
- Sound Of The Cicadas
- We’re Going To The Library
- New Leaf
- High Fives
Energetic is scheduled to be released on September 1, 2023.