I must first confess, or re-confess, that I am an absolute sucker for the Phil Spector beat, in just about any way it can sneak into a song. As is often the case, we hear it here right away, as the drum and bass in unison begin “Mrs. Sleepyhead” with that unmistakable rhythm: DUM! dum-dum; BOOM (or however one can best write that out; just think of the opening to “Be My Baby” and you’re there). It’s a mystery, where it came from, why it’s so perpetually affecting, and what on earth the world must have been like without it. All those thousands of years, without that beat. Staggers the imagination.
Anyway, so here we go again (DUM! dum-dum; BOOM) and in this case not ensconced in echoey melodrama, and therefore more intriguingly absorbed and defused as the song requires. The first shift happens at 0:20 when the bass breaks rank from the drumbeat, going on a little run that leads straight into the entrance of the electric guitar, the distinctively picked arpeggios of which distract the ear from the precise moment when the Spector beat gives way. As it clearly has by the chorus. The prickly guitar line remains but now the song around it swings and sways in a most luscious way, thanks to how the melody keeps waiting for the fourth beat in the measure to complete itself. The chorus is a marvel of smooth motion—me, I can’t keep my body still when I’m listening to it. All in all a splendid little song that’s somehow both more and less quirky than it might at first seem. Yeah I don’t know how that works either.
Marie Lalá (unused last name: Nilsson) is a Swedish singer/songwriter pretty much brand new to the world at large. According to her bio, she “is a former aerialist who now works with rope access on oil rigs in the North Sea.” Could be true, could be parody; we have so often rubbed out the fine line separating the two that I mostly give up trying to differentiate. “Mrs. Sleepyhead” is a track from her forthcoming debut EP, Search of Sound, which will be released next month via Platform of Joy.