mon 18/12/2017

CD: Mr Tumble - Mr Tumble's Christmas Party | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Mr Tumble - Mr Tumble's Christmas Party

CD: Mr Tumble - Mr Tumble's Christmas Party

A perplexing mix of styles from the Christmas king of kindergarten comedy

No seatbelts and three in the front were just two of the violations

For those of you who aren’t parents, or a member of theartsdesk’s burgeoning under-5 readership, Mr Tumble is the comic creation of Justin Fletcher a children’s entertainer and TV presenter. Among his CV highlights is providing the voice of Jake, one of the the Noughties, pre-school phenomenon the Tweenies, and a character who made Joe Pasquale sound like Richard Burton after a packet of woodbines and half a bottle of decent Scotch.

I’m not joking, compared to that voice, nails down a blackboard seems like a decent option for guided meditation, so I’m genuinely terrified going into this. I’m also acutely aware that it isn’t aimed at me. Bearing this in mind, I ask my daughter Alice, 6, for help in making a judgement.

My icy heart melts as a robin swoops down and settles on our sill and the snow begins to fall outside

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” certainly seems to strike a chord – albeit a rather cheap, nylon-sounding one – and “Jingle Bells” proves a simple, singalong joy for my young accomplice, though I’m distracted by the ever-present threat of the two most feared words known to man: “ukelele” and “solo”. Thankfully, that never materialises but, with “Here Comes Santa Claus” something equally perplexing does. Like a sudden and ruthless sugar rush, the tempo changes with a jarring drum machine pattern that would sound more at home on an album of Nine Inch Nails covers.

It gets odder. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” appears to have the beginning of the Farm’s “Groovy Train” bolted onto it, and David Guetta on programming duties. These are unfathomably strange choices and, by this stage, my co-pilot has lost interest. The idea that “Winter Wonderland” is crying out for an 808 beat is weird enough, but it’s nothing compared to the hybrid of styles in “Sleigh Ride” all held together by a punishing, jackhammer rhythm. It sounds like a car crash and I’m genuinely worried that it could cause a few.

Thankfully, there are some rather less adventurous outings here, “White Christmas”, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and "Let it Snow” seem to save the day, and then I look across to my mini understudy and notice that she’s signing some of the words. It’s behaviour that’s become normalised for thousands of hearing kids, largely through the TV show Something Special, a programme aimed at children from across the learning spectrum and presented by, yep, Justin. My icy heart melts as a robin swoops down and settles on our sill and the snow begins to fall outside.

OK not quite, but certain facts remain. Although this album is, in parts, horrible to the fully grown human ear, pre-schoolers will love it and, in fairness, that’s what it’s for. My own misgivings aside, their world is a demonstrably better place for Justin being in it. God bless Us, Every One!

Like a sudden and ruthless sugar rush, the tempo changes with a drum machine that would sound more at home on an album of Nine Inch Nails covers

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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