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Two Sunsets

Pastels/Tenniscoats

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Recensione album

In a career that's been getting more and more pastoral as time moves on, the long-running (since 1982!), sporadically recorded, highly influential Pastels have made their most pastoral-sounding record yet with 2009's Two Sunsets. Teamed with likeminded innocents from Japan the Tenniscoats, the combined group (aided by Teenage Fanclub's Gerard Love and various friends like Bill Wells and Norman Blake) rambles through 12 songs like a group of friends sitting around in the late-afternoon sunshine having the relaxed and peaceful time of the summer. Some of the tunes are fully formed pop numbers, like the truly lovely and warm "Vivid Youth" and their cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain's "About You"; some are short, almost soundtracky musical fragments with melodies that drift aimlessly and beautifully like leaves in the breeze. The mixing of the two styles makes for a varied album that flows from start to finish like a quiet brook through a wooded glen. All the songs gain strength from the varied instrumentation (wind chimes, wood flutes, an off-kilter but just right guitar style) brought to the collaboration by Ueno of the Tenniscoats, and they are also helped along by the tender singing of Saya, who blends perfectly with the reliably great singing of the Pastels' Stephen and Katrina. The song where they all meld their fragile, tender vocals together ("Boats") is nothing short of magical. The mating of the two bands makes for a perfectly wonderful collaboration, the Pastels giving the often aimless Tenniscoats some structure and the Tenniscoats' experimentalism helping to free up the Pastels' sound in an exciting way. Hopefully it's a pairing that will continue in the future, but if it ends here, at least listeners have Two Sunsets to document some of the best work either band has done to date.

Two Sunsets, Pastels
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