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Friday, Jan. 5, 2007

LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS

RECORDED

Lullatone ". . . Plays Pajama Pop Pour Vous"


Recorded for over two years in a bedroom, probably at 11 o'clock on only the laziest of Sunday mornings, the Nagoya duo Lullatone's newest album is quite possibly the cutest thing that you will hear all year.

While the layered, cut 'n' paste approach to song construction puts Lullatone loosely into the category of electronic music, there is an acoustic, analogue warmth to the recording that is reminiscent of New York's Mice Parade. The songs themselves are pure Japanese indiepop, with Yoshimi Tomida's barely audible, whispered vocals sung over a variety of toy instruments.

There are parallells with the 1990s Shibuya-kei scene, particularly in the playful use of samba, bossa nova and disco rhythms, but Lullatone seem nowhere near as fashion-obsessed as their Tokyo forbears. Instead, their attitude is based in a far more down-to-earth DIY aesthetic that is more consistent with the anything-goes approach of fellow Nagoya musicians such as Nohshinto and Coup Label's excellent "7586 Nagoyarock" compilations.

The arrangements on ". . . Plays Pajama Pop Pour Vous" are minimalist, such as the way the vocal and lead instrument follow exactly the same melody on "Pajama Party Pop" or the trancelike repetition of "Sleepytime Samba"; but they are also deceptively complex, with new instruments dropping in and out and unexpected new melodies beginning beneath the lead to reward the careful listener.



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