Slumber Party is an all-girl band from Detroit led by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Aliccia Berg. Slumber Party has released three full-length albums since their debut self-titled release in 2000. They’ve toured stateside and abroad and will be touring again in the fall of 2006 to promote their fourth release on the Kill Rock Stars label, MUSIK.
Reinvention is the mother of invention in the case of MUSIK. When you listen you might find a little of this and a little of that from places you might expect, some you didn’t, and places you didn’t even know existed. The experience is so complete it leaves you with the feeling that you got to know an unknown someone by snooping through their collection of records, books, friends, foes, junk and diaries – all of it diffused into the psyche of these songs, performances and production. Lyrically, MUSIK is a collection of songs that sing about twisted truth-or-dare confessions and biographies that resonate as great rock poetry, which should be no surprise to anyone who has followed this band.
But while the words and sentiments may be familiar, Berg and company progress beyond the traditional rock trappings of previous releases. As in the past, the Slumber Party roster continues to evolve, but it appears that this latest line-up change is in sync to be both liberating and timely for the band. MUSIK has a new approach to instrumentation that makes it ambitious and captivating. The band experiments with fresh song forms such as the vaguely Eastern drones of “Thin is Wide.” The keyboard clatter of “Boys/Girls” is boldly arranged and reflects on minimalist girl-groups, a la The Raincoats. These and other songs chart new directions for the Slumber Party sound. “Sometimes destruction is better than construction,” Aliccia sings in “Construction/Destruction,” a confident Dylanesque rocker co-written with Kim Fowley ––whom Aliccia met while she was forming this band in a Detroit kitchen. Fowley suggested naming the group Slumber Party and it stuck. The more conventional sounds of early Slumber Party have been dismantled and recreated in an electrifying mixture of psychedelic power pop, minimalist electronic ditties, and even a late-night lament for a “botched double suicide” (co-penned by Cary Loren of Destroy All Monsters).
It is a varied musical palette, building upon the musical bases of the three previous Slumber Party records with folky jangle-pop like “MADEUPMIND,” while it also engages in subtle homage to such influences as Berlin-era Bowie, the austere electronics of Eno, and the strange rock of Kevin Ayers. Longtime fans will still recognize the Slumber Party of yore, but recontextualized in a sound world that echoes the profound simplicity of Young Marble Giants, as well as some great guitar/psych drone put in service of some great songwriting.
MUSIK was produced by Dion Fischer and engineered by Warn Defever, the same team who produced and recorded Slumber Party “3”. Their combined 30 years of experience making records explains the maturity in this recording. The musicians on MUSIK are Aliccia Berg, Naomi Ruth, Alia Allen, and Raquel Salaysay, with contributions from Leah Retherford, Frances Reade, Patty Berg, Neko and Michalski.
“It's time to forget all you know,” Berg sings on the intro track, as she and the rest of Slumber Party commit themselves to musical evolution and invention. Yet it sounds like Slumber Party style, their attitude and outlook intact. It’s the same girl, just living life, and making changes.
released 12 September 2006
aliccia berg-vox, guitar, piano, synth, dr.machine, organ
alia allen-vox, guitar, percussion
raquel salaysay-vox, bass, synth
naomi ruth-vox, organ, synth, percussion