Domino, 2009

It wasn’t too much of a surprise to hear that Japan’s Tenniscoats and Glasgow’s The Pastels were making an album together. Stephen Pastel has long since held an interest in the Japanese music scene with his record shop Monorail holding many obscure releases from the Japanese Psych-folk scene and also in releasing their own through The Pastel’s Geographic label. With frequent tours through Scotland and visits to Pastel’s store their musical paths were likely to cross sooner rather than later.

Two Sunsets starts off slow with “Tokyo, Glasgow” but in a very Tenniscoats manner, with floating clarinets and characteristic tones from Saya’s Fender Rhodes piano. The record continues with the same feeling on the title track and you soon start to wonder where The Pastels lay as it sounds very much like a Tennicoats record so far, with the exception of some very quiet backing vocals from Stephen Pastel, but they soon start to make more of noticeable presence with Stephen and Saya sharing on duet on “Song From a Friend”.

“Vivid Youth” might be the most Glasgow sounding song there is on the album and reminds us of the Postcard Record days with some Orange Juice funky guitars and basslines. Released as the lead single from the album it verifies that the music industry is organized by 45 year old men who loved the Glasgow scene during the early 80’s. With “Yomigaeru” and “Modesty Piece” the band revert to the sound of the early Tenniscoats records which still retain their original charm. The album also includes a speedy cover of “About You” from Glasgow legends The Jesus and Mary Chain, that works well with Stephen´s voice and features some catchy jangling guitars.

Two Sunsets also includes an old Tenniscoats song, “Mou Mou Rainbow”, from their 2002 album The Ending Theme. Its appearance here is surprising as there is little difference from the original, except with the addition of more guitar. Both “Start Slowly So We Sound Like A Loch” and “Boats” have a very nice feel to them and are the two songs that show the most obvious collaboration between the two bands, which otherwise seems to be a mix of Pastels’ and Tenniscoats songs. Overall this does not overshadow the fact that Two Sunsets is a brilliant pop record that takes you away to various places, be it Glasgow, Japan or somewhere else entirely.

Tommy Karlsson