/

CD REVIEW

Pastels / Tenniscoats “Two Sunsets”

by Shawn Despres

“Two Sunsets” is a collaboration between Tokyo’s Tenniscoats and seminal Scottish guitar-pop act Pastels. Recorded over a few years in Glasgow during time off from Tenniscoats’ European tours, the album joins the growing list of joint projects by the Japanese avant-pop duo. They teamed up with Swedish ambient folk band Tape for 2007′s “Tan-Tan Therapy,” Tokyo electronic act Secai on 2008′s “Tenniscoats & Secai,” and vocalist Saya paired with Satomi Matsuzaki from American art rockers Deerhoof under the moniker OneOne for July’s “AoooO.”

Atmospheric instrumental opener “Tokyo Glasgow” paves the way for the title track with Saya’s whimsical vocals being complimented wonderfully by subtle, pensive sounds. The laid-back vibes continue on “Song For A Friend.” Switching between Japanese and English, Saya’s voice contrasts nicely with Stephen McRobbie’s soft, unsteady singing as melodica, glockenspiel, and horns blend together to create an innocent, enchanting lullaby that easily emerges as the record’s crowning moment. McRobbie comes off much more polished on the lush cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “About You.” Katrina Mitchell takes turns being the leader on “Vivid Youth” and the intimate orchestral pop of “Boats,” which was originally intended for Pastels’ next proper full-length, their first since 1997′s “Illumination.”

“Two Sunsets” is a beautifully crafted effort with dreamy melodies well-suited for basking in the waning days of summer. But as good as it is, it doesn’t necessarily warrant repeated listens making it questionable whether it will still hold your interest come fall and winter.