WILLIAM SHATNER – Where Will The Animals Sleep

Cleopatra 2024

Subtitled “Songs For Kids And Other Living Things” and beaming the grizzled explorer down to earth, the offering finds him embrace humanity and take the world in a love embrace.

Where Will The Animals Sleep

There have been a few William Shatner records released over the last decade, yet every track of such platters as "Ponder The Mystery" and "Blues" – presenting, respectively, original and borrowed material but invariably focusing on his celebrity status – found the veteran paired with stellar instrumentalists who consistently stole spotlight from his stupendous talent as a dramatic actor… or comical, for that matter. He deploys both aspects on this hilarious album, which may amount to William’s best, to either play or glorify various critters’ characters and bring a smile to his listener’s face by inhabiting numbers co-written with Daniel Miller and Robert Sharenow – the former a guitarist with THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, the latter an award-winning author – and skipping through different styles to make each of their subjects charming, Shatner-way. As a result, the esteemed Officer of the Order of Canada gets a chance to intone via sung line rather than spoken word and let his gravelly voice sound graceful rather than gravely.

The nonagenarian can be serious, of course – there’s an ecological message in the platter’s bass-caressed titular lullaby, and the string-drenched finale “Birdsong Symphony” is a romantic recital of sorts – but it’s difficult not to burst into laughter when he’s waxing lyrical about pachyderms’ itchy butts in opener “Elephants And Termites” and about their symbiotic pecking order in “The Rhino’s Guard” or using the boogie of “Mushrooms Talk To Trees” to expose fungi’s underground conspiracy. Not that the chosen species dictate any specific genre, yet “Barnacle Bill The Sailor” logically involves a sea shanty, and the beavers-extolling “Chomp, Chomp, Chomp” boils down to the cha-cha-cha due to a purely phonetic coincidence. Still, the waltz of “Aphids And Ants” where Miller’s insectesque backing vocals are so infectious and the godwit-praising bluegrass of “7000 Miles On A Non-Stop Flight” where the former Captain’s gradually sped-up refrains defy his 93 years of age feel like unexpected delights.

And if the acoustic paean “Why Do We Bug You” seems so sympathetic, the rap of “Secret Agent Whale” is just as kind – only much funnier. Tested on a real-life seven-years-old, this record proved to be a genuine bundle of joy: an admirable, adorable achievement.


June 6, 2024

Category(s): Reviews
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