Adults almost always condescend to children in entertainment. Call it the two faces of Shirley Temple: Kids are either paraded around as tap-dancing simpletons, beribboned and plaited and smiling, or as maudlin weepers not meant to be taken seriously. If you doubt me, watch America’s Most Talented Kids once.
The best thing about the Seattle duo Smoosh is that although chronologically they’re children (10-year-old Chloe drums; 12-year-old Asya rocks the keyboards), the sister act’s album is too mature and proficient to be dismissed as a mere novelty. Songs like “It’s Cold,” in which Asya warbles in her baby-Tori Amos soprano about how she’s “never gonna make it to the end where I’m supposed to be,” are completely thoughtful: You sense she’s shivering in her booties at the prospect of failure, of ending up where it’s cold down there.
Despite its more serious moments, She Like Electric displays a joy that can be experienced only in the province of children; just try not shimmying to the two tracks laced with hip-hop. But one of these, “The Quack,” is a pounding 45-second romp where Smoosh repeat the vaguely sexual phrase “The bone daddy’s back.” When these two blondes hit puberty, will they be disparaged as attractive teenagers? My advice to the burgeoning Smoosh: Keep your navels covered and your percussion polished. You’ll be golden henceforth.