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Lunch Money: Rock For Kids

It's easy enough to find music for kids that parents will like too. But kids' music that nonparents can warm up to is another thing entirely. The South Carolina trio Lunch Money has a new CD that even those without children might want to give a spin.

One characteristic of interesting art is putting a new perspective on something familiar. That's why music for children often annoys adults — it covers familiar subjects in a routine manner. But Lunch Money's music is an exception to that rule. On its latest release, Dizzy, it puts an entirely new spin on subjects familiar to kids, such as libraries, zoos and balloons.

The CD's hook-filled melodies and indie-pop arrangements will have a familiar appeal to adults. The band often features just enough guitar, bass and drums to set off Molly Ledford's smooth voice, which sometimes sounds like she can't believe she's having so much fun.

Even more than the melodies, the way the lyrics elegantly negotiate the divide between children and adults sets Dizzy apart. The words for "Wake Up, World," a song about awaiting spring's return, are written at a first grader's level. But the spare lyrics also conjure up images and emotions from a decidedly grown-up world.

"Kids' music parents will love" is a tired cliche and often constitutes false advertising. But, as with great children's books that adults delight in reading, albums like Dizzy show that it's possible to make music that engages everyone who has a little kid in the house, or a little kid inside himself.

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Stefan Shepherd