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CD Review: The Pastels?Tenniscoats

Two Sunsets (Domino)


The Pastels are one of the most fondly remembered bands on the C86 cassette compilation released by British music magazine New Musical Express in 1986. The Glasgow group helped define C86's earnest, scruffy, melancholy, neo-psychedelic guitar pop. Since 2000, the Tokyo-based duo Tenniscoats have been making indie pop that epitomizes what Westerners love about classic Japanese art. With delicate, sweet female vocals and a gentle, stark-yet-warm minimalism, Tenniscoats evoke a Zen-like harmony with the natural world. Sung in both Japanese and English, Two Sunsets is the first collaboration between the two bands.

The Pastels bring a more overt 1960s pop sensibility to the mix, and Tenniscoats give the Pastels an exotic, classy polish that still preserves both bands' casual, heart-on-sleeve identities. Incorporating loungey horns and soft, shuffling percussion, much of the album boasts a Japanese-flavored Burt Bacharach sound. Two Sunsets' listening is decidedly very easy, which can be an asset or a liability depending on your mood. If you're after something a bit more caffeinated, the music can drift off into dismissible background noise. But if you're seeking sedative sounds, the album's mellow, indisputable beauty is satisfyingly relaxing. Together, Tenniscoats and the Pastels supply some exquisite, exotic lounge pop. — Michael David Toth

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