It’s here! It’s finally here! No, not spring, that’s been here for a while. The Sounds of Spring. Lullatone fans have been waiting (not very patiently) for an extra year to complete their sets of seasonal EPs. Now we feel like skipping in the falling pollen. Let the clamor for a box set begin. Okay, I’m beginning it. Box set!
Regular readers know that I love these EPs. Without them, we probably wouldn’t have a “Happiest Music of the Year” list, because Lullatone is tea, toys and love. Even as parents, they have never forgotten what it is like to be children. By noticing the little things – wet grass, outside sandwiches, forgetting it gets cold at night – they remind us to count our blessings. Yes, the world can be cold-hearted and mean-spirited. But it can also be packed with joy, like a child’s lunch in a sticker-covered lunchbox. Do you remember having a lunchbox with a handle? Or a new pair of polka-dotted boots? Shawn and Yoshimi do. (Yoshimi packs the lunches, Shawn loads the car.) They still like Show and Tell. They make some of their own instruments. They invite friends to whistle while they work.
The extra year may have been a good thing, as The Sounds of Spring sounds a bit like the breaking of a piggy bank after months of saving pennies. Yay, pennies! (Sorry, ceramic pig!) It’s all instrumental (save for the whistling) and consistently upbeat. No melancholy here. Maybe a little melanin and a border collie. With ten songs in 23.5 minutes, the EP breezes by like a spring shower, but has a high replay factor. After reading Lullatone’s suggestions, one might add that The Sounds of Spring makes a good soundtrack for completing a puzzle, inventing a Spot-It game using the four covers, or burning discs and filling the CD changer.
The opening track, “a natural alarm clock”, rings true, pun intended. As spring began, one morning dove began to wake me up every morning as it sang outside my window. Apparently it was the most ambitious morning dove around, cooing its mating cry to no one in particular because all of the other birds were still on vacation. Maybe next year I’ll play this song in the window. Birds are all over this release, dancing on the glockenspiel keys, trying to pluck the strings of the ukulele for their nests. The electronics kick in on “origami tulips”, reminding one of a Saturday morning cartoon. A bouncing bass and a horn-tweet duet are the highlights of “outside sandwiches”, which sounds like a marching band after a cookie break. “wet grass” sets the stage for summer, if not Summer Songs, and now the cycle is complete. To everything there is a season, and now a seasonal EP! (Richard Allen)