Having scored the music for the short film The Games I made up in 2010, husband and wife duo Shawn James Seymour and Yoshimi Tomida have released another minimalist whimsical album. Having explored childhood and the idea of lullabies, engaged with childrens toys and the commercial aspects where music is concerned, Lullatone put their efforts to a ‘Soundtracks for Everyday Adventures‘. If the titles are anything to go by the idea of the album is about capturing a set of moments in life and creating musical interpretations as a result. Tracks like ‘going to buy some strawberries’ or ‘older couple holding hands’ are descriptive of the interpretation taken here, inducing emotion. Given that the range of emotive possibilities range from the generally happy to quite happy verging on gleeful, if the minimalistic pop brightness of the palette is anything to go by, then the presumption that these are musical interpretations of these emotions fits better. This makes the assumption that a specific tonal range is associated with a range of emotions and, while we may quibble about this, the world spins on and pop continues to work on this basis.
They start with the ironically titled ‘growing up‘; the music strikes you as childlike to begin with, presenting a gleaming and optimistic palette to the listener. Lullatone still use the same range of instruments that have defined their earlier albums: guitar, guitalele, toy drum, toy instruments, glockenspiel, casiotone keyboard, strings, horns and piano. There are moments such as ‘The best paper aeroplane ever’ when the homage to the minimalist works of Phillip Glass are apparent but generally the sense of being within a precise bright arrangement of tones pervades the work of Lullatone. The presence of strings and piano in this album tones down the effervescence of the melodic sound and adds a slight air that can be construed as a nod to more ‘serious’ works – a heightened complexity in their work. There are few vocals on the album, remaining within the range of upbeat guttural intonations that act as chorus and beat on ‘checking things off of a to-do list early in the morning’. The complexity of the compositions stands in contrast to their purported childlike affectations and it is not hard to fathom that the optimistic disposition that they construct is a purposeful and generally excellent strategy of encountering the world. That the album has more than the childlike display moves Lullatone out of pollyanna land into a more sophisticated sound.