Music Reviews
4:54 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

Album Review: 'We Are All Young Together'

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 11:39 am

Keyboard player Walter Martin is best known for his part in the indie band The Walkmen. After the group took a break last year, though, Martin ventured into kids music. Reviewer Stefan Shepherd says Martin's solo debut, We Are All Young Together, is surprising, sweet and playful.

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Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The indie rock band The Walkmen had a big following when it announced an extreme hiatus late last year. All of the band members already had other projects in the works, including organist-bassist Walter Martin. And his first solo album has surprised fans. He made it for a different audience. Here's Stefan Shepherd with a review.

STEFAN SHEPHERD, BYLINE: It's not unusual for band members to release solo albums while their bands take a break. It is unusual; however, for those solo albums to be recorded for kids. Walter Martin first started writing these songs in 2012, inspired by the news of him becoming a father.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SING 2 ME")

WALTER MARTIN: (Singing) Butterflies, they fill my guts when I look in your eyes. A heart that's young and filled with sweet surprise. Only the innocent can sympathize.

SHEPHERD: There's an innocence here in a song like, "Sing 2 Me" which could be romantic but clearly works as a love song from parent to child. His new album "We're All Young Together" features lots of Martin's indie rock friends like members of "The National" and on this track, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SING 2 ME")

KAREN O: (Singing) 'Til then you're beautiful and I just stare.

>>KAREN O & MARTIN: (Singing) Sing another lonely line with me. Sing it in a lazy melody. There's no words to say just how I feel. So it's just yodel-odel-odle-lay-hi. Yodel-odel-odle-lay-hi. Yodel-odel-odle-lay-hi.

SHEPHERD: Martin played the brainy and serious music of The Walkmen for many years but when he played the first songs, that eventually made it on this album, to close friends and family they and he knew those songs were his own voice.

SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BEATLES (WHEN RINGO SHOOK HIS MOP)")

MARTIN: (Singing) Well, John, Paul, Georgie and Ringo.

CHORUS: (Singing) Ringo.

MARTIN: (Singing) They're singing in my head wherever I go.

CHORUS: (Singing) I go.

MARTIN: (Singing) Songs with magic charms you can't deny. Well, I can't decide who's my favorite one.

CHORUS: (Singing) Favorite one.

MARTIN: (Singing) Mama likes Paul. Daddy likes John.

CHORUS: (Singing) Likes John.

MARTIN: (Singing) Sis likes George, so I guess Ringo's mine.

SHEPHERD: A lot of the album's inspiration comes from Martin's childhood, like listening to the Beatles in the backseat of his parents car on long spring break drives and his ongoing love for those rock records from the '50s and '60's that still get people dancing.

SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BEATLES (WHEN RINGO SHOOK HIS MOP)")

MARTIN: (Singing) The Beatles beat.

CHORUS: (Singing) The Beatles beat

MARTIN: (Singing) Makes a kid feel free.

CHORUS: (Singing) Makes a kid feel free.

MARTIN: (Singing) Sounds so sweet.

CHORUS: (Singing) Sounds so sweet.

MARTIN: (Singing) And full of mystery.

CHORUS: (Singing) Full of mystery.

SHEPHERD: Whatever cool-points Martin may have lost by wadding into the kid's music world, the playful and sweet nature of this new album shows he doesn't care one bit. He feels very much at home.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEY SISTER")

MARTIN: I'd like to let my little sister share the microphone with me for a second. She's going to help me sing a song called "Hey Sister." (Singing) Hey Sister.

KAT EDMONSON: yeah?

MARTIN: (Singing) Something in the way you look looks just like me.

EDMONSON: Well, that kind of makes sense I mean I am your sister.

MARTIN: (Singing) Something in the way you talk sounds just like Aunt Marie.

EDMONSON: Yeah, I could see that.

MARTIN: (Singing) Grandma looks just like Pop.

EDMONSON: It's true, isn't it?

MARTIN: (Singing) Mama looks just like Cousin Bob. We should put them all together and call it a family.

SIEGEL: Stefan Shepherd reviewed "We're All Young Together" by Walter Martin. Stefan writes about kid's music at zooglobble.com. You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.