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coverpic flag US - New Jersey - Full Moon 95 - 07/02/04

The Special Pillow
Inside the Special Pillow

The other night I had a dream: I got a phone call from Frank Sinatra. "Hey, man. Håvard, heard any good bands from Hoboken lately?" "Uh, well, yes Frankie, fact is: I just recently got hold of Inside the Special Pillow", I quickly replied, and added "It's damn good. But it's nothing for you, old fellah."

The Special Pillow (TSP) play dreamy and psychedelic (rough and rugged) pop-music. Main man is singer/bassist Dan Cuddy, who writes all the songs. Cuddy used to be in a band called Hypnolovewheel, as did TSP's drummer/producer (plus keyboards, vox) Peter Walsh. Third person on board is violinist Katie Gentile (ex-Splendora). Inside the Special Pillow is their 2nd album, but it's been almost 7 years (!) since their debut album Ancient History - recorded in 1994, but not released until 1997. An album which also included Yo La Tengo's James McNew on guitar, and Cindy Brolsma (ex-Splendora) on cello. McNew isn't around this time. New players are Carey Burtt (guitar, bass, vocals) and Timothy Harris (cello).

The record starts carefully (like it's sneaking up on you) with "Please Come to Our Séance". Before it bounces off with the (almost poisonously) catchy "Poison Aplples". The pleasant "Automatic Door" reminds me slightly of fellow, uh..., Hobokians Yo La Tengo and some of their quieter moments from latter year's albums. There's even some more YLT-ish glimpses throughout Inside TSP, even though it's not at all a copycat band. The 9 1/2 minute baroque piece "The Whole Thing" is indeed intriguing, while "Internet Pet" stretches more into noisy territory (imagine Sonic Youth merging with Thin White Rope).

Not all of the 13 tracks are interseting enough, but all in all the album is a very fine listening. Far, far from a waste of time. It's a perfect pillow for relaxation and meditation. Lay your head down, and sleep away...

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