Slater Rhea teaches through play on the joyous celebration of “Sing Chinese with Slater”. Nicely bridging Chinese and American culture through song, the album shines with so much optimism. Melodically rich he incorporates elements of folk, jazz, and pop into a singular whole that feels uniquely his own. Never overstaying their welcome his lyrics have a brightness to them. Virtually giddy with their tremendous enthusiasm the album works best when taken together as a singular whole. Layer upon layer is brought into the mix making sure that every single detail is given the utmost importance. Arrangements are uniquely tailored to perfectly couch his verses which possess a great deal of care in their crafting.
Children’s music can be a difficult thing to master, but Slater Rhea does it with the utmost of ease. Recalling the work of Raffi, it too works on an engaging level. The sing-along nature of the tracks further adds to the spirit of community that ties the album together. Bright fluorescent sounds graciously filter into the mix. Everything has a classic spirit to it for the way he sings has a timeless tasteful quality to it. Elements too incorporate a bit of Schoolhouse Rock’s ethos into the fray for like them, he too offers a blissful yet intelligent way of engaging the listener. On the more contemporary side of things, Slater Rhea brings the easy-going grooves of They Might Be Giants to help anchor the lyricism.
“Hello, Hello” starts up the album and sets the tone for what follows. Bubbly synthesizer mixes flawlessly with his voice to create a living, breathing entity. A country flair fuses itself into the beautiful “I Love My Family”. Stripped-down with great purpose “Chinese ABC’s” has a tenderness to it. Updating the lullaby “Counting Stars” brings a dreamy sensibility to his already carefully crafted verses. Carefully laid out bass works wonders on the rolling rhythm of “I Love Fruit”. Serving as perhaps the best piece on the album is the spirited bliss of “Rainbow, Rainbow in the Sky”.
Neon-hued synthesizers weave themselves together on the vast tapestry of “Let’s Do Sports” where he emphasizes a sense of community. Love for the natural world defines the poetic “The Four Seasons” with the toy-box melody serving as a fine touch. An intimacy rests at the heart of “How’s the Weather?”. Bluesy with its gentle ethos is the lush “I’m Gonna Succeed”. Nimble guitar work punctuates the power of the great messaging of “Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands”. A fantastic finale comes to the forefront on the cinematic flair of “See You Later”.
A true triumph of children’s music, Slater Rhea creates a thoughtful and engaging piece of pop on “Sing Chinese with Slater”.