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“Lullatone’s fourth album, Plays Pajama Pop Pour Vous, coaxes its bass drum sounds from a pillow. One half of the Nagoya, Japan-based duo, Shawn James Seymour pulls naptime melodies out of thin air, while Yoshimi Tomida whispers about little birds, waking up, and castles in the sky. In the tradition of Kyoto-based producer Nobukazu Takemura, whose Childisc label released their 2003 sophomore effort My Petit Melodies, Lullatone papier-mâché the childlike sounds of bell-tone synths and toy glockenspiel into imaginative, minimalist pop.

Gentle sine waves bounce repetitively throughout sleepy-eyed opener “Good Morning Melody” and yawning synth exercise “Magical…”, drifting across unhurried rhythms. It’s as if they might evaporate altogether when you open your eyes. Eight-minute finale “Floating Away”, with an ideal beat for a slumberland discotheque, uses stereo trickery to create the illusion that reclining headphone listeners are beginning to hover. But then, the defining sensation of Plays Pajama Pop Pour Vous is weightlessness.

Nonetheless, Lullatone can’t neatly be filed alongside such kinder-pop acts as the Boy Least Likely To or Architecture in Helsinki. Plays Pajama Pop Pour Vous is interested not so much in being cute as in being cute majestically. Ukulele-driven “Bedroom Bossa Nova” exalts its simple melody and lyrics by letting us gaze at them from a sweeping vista of tropicalia, toy drums, and meticulously breezy production. The glistening harp loops of “Sleepytime Samba” spread out beneath warm beeps and blips with the fragile grandeur of Múm. OK, whistle-led “Pajama Party Pop” could almost be Hot Chip for the seventh-birthday crowd. So cute.

At the same time, Lullatone’s latest represents a progression for the duo. Little by little, their project has become more organic as well as more indebted to Tomida’s girlish vocals, which feature on each of the new album’s eight tracks. Where 2003 debut Computer Recital sought simple beauty in abstract electronics, Plays Pajama Pop Pour Vous finds the abstract in beautifully simple songs. These days Lullatone overload on aesthetic traits frequently viewed as puerile, and they find in them something transcendent. In the world of Seymour and Tomida, cuteness is merely beauty of another kind.” Pitchfork

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