Sweet dreams

Aug 30, 2000 at 12:00 am

Understated and sedate, Slumber Party’s hypnotic pop dreamscapes unravel in pixel vision: slightly unfocused, obscured and intimate, artsy. On its exceptional full-length debut, the females in this Detroit foursome reveal their secrets in cinematic slow-motion, in lingering close-ups of long-gone and longed-for loves. The effect is startling. Amid swirling and twirling Velvet Underground sounds, densely layered harmonies echo and haunt as if entire lives have been lost inside their pop fantasia — and they have. “Since you’ve gone away … funny way the sun still shines,” Aliccia Berg realizes on “I’m an Example,” a somber, sweeping meditation on regret and resignation: “Evidently you’re so far from what I want.”

Incredibly, every track feels this precious, this familiar; evoking Lou Reed, Phil Spector and today’s oft-overlooked Aislers Set, Slumber Party’s pop-perfect album taps into that timeless and endlessly shared experience of romantic longing. Produced by Matthew Smith (Outrageous Cherry, the Go), these 13 songs are full of retro-droning atmospherics and hidden, fragile beauties that don’t truly come into focus until you’ve cried yourself to sleep listening to such emotionally exhausted songs as “Sooner or Later” and “Why Do I Care.” In other words, just try to convince yourself that sweet dreams aren’t made of this. Because they are.

Jimmy Draper writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].