Record Review - 4 June 26 2002

Frank Sisti Jr., the New Yorker who records under the name Kid America and the Action Figures, makes music that bends hip-hop roots into unlikely shapes. In this case, Sisti bypasses sullen adolescent alienation by a few years, going straight for the giddy heart of childhood.?

Bandy, his self-released debut (available via, recalls the sugar-high spirits of sampladelic masterpieces like the Avalanches’ Since I Left You and De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising. The difference is that Bandy’s rush seems to be literally sugar-fueled. Not only is the fidelity as thick as the last spoonfuls of milk in a bowl of Froot Loops, the album is constructed of equal parts classic funk breakbeats and children’s records.?

Not unlike an early-’90s rave flier, Bandy is innocent on the surface but underlined with a mischievous — dare say, sinister — sensibility. “Bandy (Intro)” cuts between sped-up hip-hop brags (“Tape decks pause/Shit in your draws/Comin’ to your town like Santa Claus,” followed by a child saying, “I like Santa”) and amusement-park standbys (“Attention, parents: Please do not leave your child unattended while riding the ride. Enjoy the ride, kids”). “Muffinman (Traditional)” cuts up different versions of “Do You Know the Muffin Man” like Grandmaster Flash on the Fisher-Price wheels of steel. “Dancin’” is a throw-down party jam.?

Bandy confuses old-school with preschool, Saturday Night Fever with Saturday morning cartoons — all to highly entertaining effect. On “Fan Club Theme,” a kid marvels, “That’s crazy!” ?

It’s hard to disagree.