"Girlfriend Forever"
(MJMJ Records)

The cassette cover is of a slightly out of focus young woman with a dripping rainbow across her face (please note: the above photo was ripped from the artist's website ... the actual cassette cover is a close up of the above photo). It reminds me of local access children television programming, family friendly craft fairs or one of those discombobulating pink house wackos from "A Family Finds Entertainment". The girl is, please forgive me here, good looking, with subtle messy bangs, a calming expression and a flirtatious tilt of the head.

The music seems to match this visual well. It's appealing, stimulating yet calming dance music. It is gay in the old fashioned usage of the word, even when the music is bittersweet in temperament. I sense even a little of "the Cure" in the synth tone.

Little Spoons vocalists at times sound like a tenor young Prince (or as the artist formerly known as) but they can also make like native American tribal chanters. At other times their voices sound without gender. This androgyny is engaging the same way Ziggy Stardust era Bowie was engaging, although these are dreamy dance songs, not intergalactic ballads. A female voice emerges at the beginning of side B ... or maybe it's the same voice? I dunno... but it's got me listening, which is a very good sign of a good cassette.

I think one thing that makes this cassette work is the fact it is, once again, a utilitarian release. The beat, while dropping out at times to allow melody to take center stage, remain rather simple and repetitive four four drumbeats. This gets ones head nodding and then Little Spoon doesn't let up. This cassette has a mission to make you move. There is fun poetry here in the lyrics, interesting tonal experimentation, beautiful digital vocal harmonies, good transitions and enough song diversity to keep me interested ... but the glue that keeps it all together is a focus on the beat. Even on a song like "We are Both Adults", which is notably more serious and somber than the rest of the release, has a drumbeat that keeps your head nodding. It doesn't break your neck (it's not trying to) but it is consistent.

This music is best when the harmonies are really pushed to their fullest digital capabilities, like on the cassette finale, "There is Something Over That Hill". There's still a computer loop rhythm that sounds like MUM, but here the vocals delay, merge into chorus, loop and the whole song ends with the rest of the song elements dropping out as the vocals infinitely fade out chanting with divine glory.

This is a fine release and good for the summer season. Diverse, inviting, mellow without being lazy, dance inducing without being aggressive and with lush, stoned vocals. Check it out.
Listen to it here on their bandcamp:

--Jack Turnbull