Building on the success of their debut, The First Album, which featured memorable hits about lonely tomatoes, the number eight and alien misfits, and the chart-topping success of this year’s Star Wars-themed single, “Why Is Dad So Mad?” BINARY brings you more catchy, classroom fun, delivered with the BoE’s renowned musical diversity and bravado, a sound that hearkens back to Schoolhouse Rock, but this record also makes an important pivot into new waters.
Never ones to try the same thing twice, (unless it’s spotlighting obscure inventors, as the band does again with “Know Your Inventors, Part II,” a tribute to the inventor of kevlar, Stephanie Kwoleck), Binary follows the arcs of young characters trying to figure out life’s larger mysteries, but also makes a tonal shift that parallels singer-songwriter Kevin Emerson’s transition into parenthood.
The wacky elementary-school-science teacher is still here in songs like “VASIMR to Mars!” (an ode to a real-life experimental rocket), “I’m Not Here Right Now” (with lyrics about the hadopelagic ocean layer and ocelots), and “Geography Quiz!” (about all the new countries Post-Soviet-Union), but Binary also traces Kevin’s experience as a father in songs with autobiographical roots, like “First Day” (from the eyes of a child being dropped off at school for the first time), “Three” (about managing friendships), and “The Ballad of Rodo Chouch” (about the death of the classroom fish).
And perhaps most importantly, the band explores one of the most complicated topics between today’s parents and children in “Why is Dad So Mad?” (he’s mad about Star Wars!).
The common thread through all these songs are the young main characters, whether imagining being on Mars, or that their friendships (or secret crushes) are as strong as binary stars. Kevin’s had some experience with these kind of elementary school stories, as the author of eight kids novels, the Oliver Nocturne series and Carlos Is Gonna Get It (from Scholastic), and the upcoming The Fellowship for Alien Detection (from HarperCollins).
So fire up Binary and get ready to Listen, Learn, and Rock!