Sleep is often an ambiguous endeavor. The nature of what passes through the unconscious can dictate the quality of our sleep, and, consequently, how we wake up and perceive the world, be it fearful and anxiety-ridden, or, perhaps hopeful and motivated. New Jersey dreampop outfit Lunch Ladies’ single, “Pick yourself up,” off their debut LP Down On Sunset Strip, attempts to permeate the psyche and steer it towards that optimistic latter. A snappy pop rhythm drives the whole, from the first waltzy staccato bass notes and the cymbal-heavy, danceable drums to the liquid guitar leads. Set this as a backdrop for gorgeously whimsical vocal highs and it plays like the soundtrack to some otherworldly carousel, the feature attraction at a circus in the clouds.
It approaches the sad, in the distant longing of Cynthia Rittenbach’s wooing, but only in such a way that a previous or recurring joy is on the recess, like coming home from a vacation, or, well, like going back to work after a good weekend. It’s fluid throughout, everything seamlessly pouring into and out each other, even when the rhythm changes shape, and, finally, when the previously energetic child slows down entirely and decompresses, unwinds. It lays itself down to bed, and its good mood assures for good sleep. On her brighter side, Rittenbach notes, “You try too hard to make life work for your way of doing things. If you don’t want to waste time, you have to open up a little more and let yourself go with life’s natural flow. I’m an imperfect person, but still, there are times when I think to myself how wonderful life can be!”
Down on Sunset Strip is March 10 on Good Eye Records.