Lullatone: The Bedtime Beat
Someone Good

How can you not love an album whose opening song (“The Bathtime Beat”) features a funky “drum” solo performed using bathtub water and whose second (“Your Snore”) is built around the elongated wheeze of someone's snoring? Since 2003's Computer Recital, Lullatone has single-mindedly tilled its eccentric patch of “pajama pop” and with each release has become more and more a sonic entity unto itself. The Bedtime Beat, a ten-song mini-album (twenty-one minutes) from long-time partners Yoshimi Tomida and Shawn Seymour, is the group's most “personal” set of material to date, with much of the songs' sounds originating from natural materials recorded at the duo's home and at Rokutan Elementary School: a bed tapped to mimic a bass drum, slippers used to create marching rhythms (“Marching To Sleep”), and Tomida's fragile voice as a human beatbox (“The Bedtime Beatbox”). Biz Markie even gets a shout-out during the latter's child-like refraction of funky hip-hop while the group's sweet side is presented in the closing lullabies “Make Believe Melody #2” and “Oyasumi.” Though presumably the songs are electronically assembled, the group opts for a natural sound with organs, vibraphones, and hand percussion instruments at the forefront. Only the charging 4/4 of “Goodnight Train” suggests some degree of commonality with dance-based electronic music but that's the only time Lullatone's sound extends beyond its self-contained world of gleeful pop.

May 2008