Lullatone: Songs That Spin In Circles
Audio Dregs

If Songs That Spin in Circles presents a slight change in direction for Lullatone, it's also a natural outgrowth from the previous work issued by partners Shawn James Seymour and Yoshimi Seymour. Whereas the duo's last release, The Bedtime Beat (on Australian label Someone Good), includes songs that feature a funky “drum” solo performed with bathtub water (“The Bathtime Beat”) and another built around the wheeze of a person's snoring (“Your Snore”), their sixth recording is a tad less irreverent in concept. Put simply, Lullatone eschews its regular “pajama pop” style for ten lullabies originally composed for the Nagoya -based couple's newborn son, an adorable cherub seen on the inner sleeve clothed in a bear cub outfit.

Despite the slight shift in conceptual focus, the Lullatone sound remains sonically intact with bright tinkle of bells, chimes, and electric piano dominating; in addition, the Shidami Junior High School Chorus Club lends its soft choir vocals to “A Mobile Over Your Head,” and Lawence English contributes an underwater recording to the becalmed weave of marimba and vibraphone patterns coursing through “The Whole World While You Are Asleep.” A snore does appear in “A Merry-Go-Round in the Park” but it functions as a sleeping pill complement to the music box melodies that flow serenely throughout. While songs such as “Stars on the Ceiling of a Planetarium” and “The Hands of a Clock” teem with sonic sprinkles and droplets, the gently lilting breeze of the bossa nova-esque “A Plastic Bag in the Wind” pairs ukulele playing and Seymour's “ba-ba” punctuations. Distinctive too is “A Toy Train on its Track,” which augments a metronomic rhythm with the soft hoot of a train whistle.

Brimming with merry-go-round melodies and softly sparkling ambiance, the tracks are pretty enough to reward “wide-awake” listening, but they're tailor-made to work as sleep-inducing background music too, especially when each has been designed to loop seamlessly so that pressing a CD player's “repeat” function will allow an infant's favourite song to play all night long—songs that spin in circles indeed.

September 2009