A Lull – Ice Cream Bones EP
Record Label: Lujo Records
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Tell me an up-and-coming digital artist is pairing with his friends to form a rock inspired mashup that plays to each members’ strengths and I’ll turn over to find the cooler side of the pillow. It’s nothing against Chicago’s Nigel Evans Dennis and his pals Mike Brown and Todd Miller, it’s just that when I hear “electrorock project,” I tend to hit the snooze button. Still, after listening to their debut EP, A Lull managed to catch my attention – just long enough to put me back to sleep.
A rousing endorsement, no? Allow me to qualify my flippant remarks: the beauty and intricate execution of the Ice Cream Bones EP is infinitely listenable, making it a perfect evening album. Dennis, Brown, and Miller and a mess of guest musicians introduce everything from acoustic guitars, bass, and two drum sets to bells, hand claps, and trumpets. Despite the extensive accoutrement, A Lull weaves with a light hand, gently placing layer after soft layer on top of subtle rhythms to create an airy and entirely carefree sound. Listeners are usually treated to three part vocal harmonies (or would two voices and a whisper only be two and a half parts?) that wander in and out of the instrumental mix. The lyrics are simple and quirky, touching on the spaces between touches and glances without posing questions or demanding answers. Anything more would upset the delicate balance.
The problem, or perhaps the point, is that the four songs of the Ice Cream Bones EP sound less like separate entities and more like one continuous trip through the clouds. The musings of “Skinny Fingers” bleed into the brilliant vocal tapestry of “White/Gold” which, after a brief eighty-eight seconds, slides into the easy guitar line of “Little Echoes.” “Our Age” brings up the rear and were it not for its strange opening line (“We go around fucking with our eyes”), one could easily think the playlist had gotten confused and somehow turned back on itself. This is not an EP. It’s an eleven minute song with four movements.
You don’t have to be wide awake to enjoy these wispy tunes. A Lull is purportedly in the studio recording their follow-up full-length, but for now, we’re left with the four tracks of the Ice Cream Bones EP. Spin the record and allow yourself to be drawn, if only for a short time, into the distant, dreamy soundscapes of A Lull.