The Bedtime Beat
(03.2008, Someone Good)
Verdict = Visions of indie Japanese children’s pop
I can’t help but find Lullatone’s latest minimalist glitch/pop outing, The Bedtime Beat, absolutely hilarious. That may come off as negative, but I assure you that it is an absolutely positive effect of what has turned out to be one of the most awesome, surprising releases of 2008. When I initially scanned through the album earlier this year I hastily passed over it as a novelty, but upon returning to The Bedtime Beat it has become glaringly obvious how wrong my first impression was. I think what caught me off guard initially and what now has revealed itself as the genius of the album is the innocent nature that pervades it. The Bedtime Beat sounds like songs made for toddlers (I actually have not ruled out this as a serious demographic for the album), which at first glance may seem to be a demeaning description, but in reality this honest, simple approach to pop music is gloriously appropriate, revealing endless charm and sincerely terrific tunes. I don’t know if I am doing Lullatone any justice in this explination, but this is also why The Bedtime Beat can be dually hilarious and precious. The opening track, “The Bathtime Beat,” is a perfect example of everything that is great about the album. The song finds the duo exploring sparse, tiny beats coupled with literal water splashing to back the hushed vocals of Japanese songstress Yoshimi Tomida as she sings about…duh, bathtime! I tell you what, if Sesame Street was rocking these type of songs I would still be watching today (in honest admission, I still YouTube some of the music from the show that was broadcast in its early years). The album continues simply incorporating snoring samples for songs about bedtime and a cappella beats for lyrics about dreaming of Biz Markie. It is perfect really; super twee extremely brief for those short childish attention spans (just over twenty minutes!). I guess a good amalgamation of the band (if you’ll let me mention Sesame Street again) would be something like the aforementioned childrens television show mixed with early Architecture In Helsinki and Deerhoof. How can you argue with that?
Lullatone on virb