To be really successful these days, a children's programme has to capture that crossover audience of student/stoner types that made Teletubbies and The Magic Roundabout before it such cult favourites. Spongebob Squarepants, a cartoon about the undersea exploits of a short-trousered washcloth is so successful they've gone and made a feature film of it, and the presence on this soundtrack of US alt.rock faves like Avril Lavigne, Wilco, and The Shins demonstrates how deftly it surfs that slacker zeitgeist. And to give it its due, it's a charming mix of daffy singalong rhymes, growing-up songs such as Wilco's "Just A Kid" ("Everybody has to do/ Something they don't want to do"), and heavy rock outings like Motorhead's "You Better Swim", which fulfills its aquatic brief largely via the childish insult "fishface". The general tone is one of surreal, hippy-dippy innocence: from the bong-tastic bubbling noises of The Flaming Lips' "Spongebob & Patrick Confront the Psychic Wall of Energy" to a strangely satisfying blend of Hawaiian guitar, rap and silly scratching on "Prince Paul's Bubble Party". Elsewhere, Electrocute emulate a B-52s-style beach-party groove with the surging synth-bass throb of "Bikini Bottom", the most infectious piece included.
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