Pastels / Tenniscoats – Two Sunsets

It’s pretty much the first time we’ve heard Stephen McRobbie sing for twelve years.

Pastels / Tenniscoats – Two Sunsets (Geographic)

Top Scot pop band the Pastels have teamed up with Japan’s top pop band the Tenniscoats to produce a gentle, dreamy pop gem. Tokyo Glasgow summarises the respective band locations and opens the album with an instrumental of shimmering beauty. Title track Two Sunsets, sung in Japanese, continues the languid mood. Piano and guitar led it is wistful and melancholic without being in any way dreary. Song for a Friend, a genuine collaboration between the two bands is sung in Japanese and English. It’s pretty much the first time we’ve heard Stephen McRobbie sing for twelve years. His frail, boyish voice hasn’t changed and it suits the incredibly sweet song, augmented as it is by brass and harmonica.

Your guitar’s still where you left it/

Over by the willow tree and/

Sometimes when the wind is kind/

It plays your song for me.

It’s probably the strongest track on the album.

Vivid Youth has a bit more urgency, the poppy guitar lines harking back to the Pastel’s earlier work. Katrina Mitchell (seemingly the only other remaining Pastel) sings this one and there’s even time for a clarinet solo. Yomigaeru also contains woodwind interventions (along with breathy background vocals), presumably courtesy of perennial scenester Bill Wells. Modesty Piece is a simple and charming instrumental, albeit with a hint of panpipes about it, whilst About You takes the Jesus and Mary Chain original and makes it a blissful pop moment. The album continues along it’s own sweet way, refusing to be hurried. Recorded over the course of a couple of years, the overall feel is consistent – it sounds like it was made by people who had just got out of bed on a hot summer’s day. It’s warm and fuzzy and only rouses itself when absolutely necessary, such as the guitar work on Sodane.

Words: Chris Dawson