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CD Feature/ Lullatone: "The Bedtime Beat"

img  Tobias

Yoshimi Tomida and Shawn Seymour must have been strange kids: Where others would think up tricks not to come into physical contact with water, they were happily splashing about; when their friends would cry and struggle to be allowed to stay up late, they were already in dreamland. “The Bedtime Beat” is their manifesto on the importance and comfort of a good night’s sleep and the benefits of making music in the bathtub.

With the charm and contagious naivety their debut album is oozing, writing songs in your pyjamas could soon turn into a trend. Already the track listing speaks books about the creative slumber the duo has awoken from before entering the studio: “The Bedtime Beatbox”, “Marching to Sleep” and “Goodnight Train” are hymns to the night, played by a teddy bear orchestra in limbo.

All of this is not to say, however, that Tomida and Seymour have used their concept to lazily forget about the importance of melodies and hooks. In fact, with the exception of two “Make Believe Melody” interludes, which have more of a transitory function, “The Bedtime Beat” contains a string of heavenly humming hits, from the sampled nose noises and fender rhodes artifacts of “Your snore” (which “is like a beat to me” according to the lyrics) to the harmonica harmonics and bass loops of the consolingly grooving mantra “Goodnight Train” (the only tune which includes outside help from Yoshihiro Tsuchie), stringing together the most diverse styles with sleepwalking precision.

Just as much as they profit from a quiet firework of thematic inventiveness, and the inclusion of clever soundwork (such as beats culled from splashing with water and the rhythm of a projection machine on “tiny cinema”) the songs benefit from the versatile vocal delivery of Tomida, who is capable of singing in a softly whispering voice, often loosing several syllables to silence without sounding silly and of making a pseudo-cool HipHop lullaby like “The Bedtime Beatbox” appear both “true” and funny: “So while you’re falling asleep, little lady, c’mon and drop beats with me!”, she scants, while Seymour operates a slew of warm and scantily played instruments, throwing in some marimba and strumming his guitar.

“The Bedtime Beat” may only clock in at twenty minutes, but because its songs seem to play in a time of their own, it feels both much shorter and longer than that. For anyone with a value-for-money mentality, it might nonetheless be a nice idea to put the album on repeat at night, providing for a perfectly adjusted soundtrack to one’s dreams. Which leads us straight to the most important aspect of Lullatone’s work: This is one of the few bands who consider it a success rather than an insult if you were to fall asleep to their music.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Lullatone
Homepage: Someone Good Recordings

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