Sleeps In Oysters: Don't Drum for Other Girls
Seed Records

On this limited-edition data disc, Sleeps in Oysters shows itself to be a modern-day dada project; certainly no one could possibly accuse the male-female duo from Paisley and Reading of bringing too little imagination and individuality to their ever-contorting music productions. The release includes both visual and sound work, though it's the latter that's more substantial. Oh, the visual material is enjoyable enough, consisting as it does of collages and a zine-inspired, handcrafted package (both by UK artist LustrousChemistry aka Paul Hearn), and a fun video treatment of “Don't Drum for Other Girls” (by Madrid-based Carlos Sáez), but it's secondary to the musical content, which features previously unreleased songs plus re-imaginings by Christ, Diasonic, DJ Arctic Roll, and John Oyster and even spoken word from The Strangest Pet.

The “Don't Drum for Other Girls” original bolts from the gate with two minutes of giddy vocal electro-pop and skittering drum beats, its incessantly chanted title burrowing into one's cranium like an insect into an ear canal. On the remix front, Christ's ‘I am a cliché' mix' recasts it as a stripped-down take whose grungy guitars and primitive drums call to mind the halcyon days of punk and New Wave, while John Oyster's ‘Son of Drum' mix submerges it within an aquatic wonderland before allowing its crazed instincts to take over.

As strange as its title, the surreal collage “He Drummed. (A work of fiction by The Strangest Pet/Wm.B.McClure, Soundtrack by John Oyster)” finds Sleeps in Oysters hauling out the violins for some violent screeching and sawing to accompany a spoken-word performance. Oyster also contributes a ‘Soundtrack' treatment of “He Drummed. Part 2” that's as sonically unpredictable and explorative. In such settings, Sleeps in Oysters embraces to the fullest degree a no-holds-barred experimentalism and consequently any resemblance to conventional pop songcraft is left far behind. Thankfully, the recording offsets such radical sound experiments with more conventional song-styled tracks.

Heard next to the The Strangest Pet-Oyster tracks, “Ice Creamix (DJ Arctic Roll Mix of Mary and Polly's ‘Ice Cream')” and “Mechanista” sound like the most normal kind of AM radio fare, given the presence of conventional beats and melodies, and are thus welcome additions to the EP; the cuts could even work reasonably well in a club setting on account of their bass-powered drum beats and pulsating synth work. Even more accessible is Diasonic's remix of “Two People in a Clock by the Digital Sea, Part 2,” which presents the song as a slice of Morr Music-styled electropop that's as gleeful as it is charming. There's no question that Don't Drum for Other Girls offers an always-interesting ride, though it's also one that may not appeal in its entirety to the average listener.

May 2012