The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

The Pastels/Tenniscoasts: Two sunsets (2009), Domino

Si hay alguna banda que verdaderamente puede ser clasificada como de culto, ésa puede ser The Pastels. Auténticos supervivientes del C-86, del Twee o del Indie, la banda de Stephen McRobbie (o Stephen Pastel) continúa en activo, a su ritmo, sin estar en plena actualidad, pero siempre activos, Stephen Pastel y Katrina Mitchell, junto con una cohorte de colaboradores, se han reunido con el grupo japonés Tenniscoats para dar forma a un disco de elaboración conjunta, fruto de la búsqueda de talentos de aquel país por parte del sello de los escoceses, Geographic, y de la admiración que el dúo nipón profesaba por los británicos, quienes allá por 2006 ya comenzaron a sugerirles algunas sesiones de estudio. Sea como fuere, este otoño ha visto la luz este Two sunsets, doce temas fruto de esa reunión creativa que ha dado como resultado, en nuestra opinión, un disco un tanto irregular, muy pausado, con tonos realmente melancólicos, frutos quizás de la madurez creativa de la pareja escocesa, pero que en algunos momentos lastran quizás demasiado su escucha. Personalmente, soy de la opinión de que les hubiera quedado un Ep de lo más resultón, más que un álbum tan largo. Nos quedamos con cuatro temas que son los que considero más destacables: Sodane, un tema cantado por la cantante de Tenniscoats, que tiene un riff de lo más agradable y un ritmo acompasado para un perfecto tema Twee. Boats es un tema más tirando a lo ambiental, nos recuerda en algo el sonido que facturan sus correligionarios BMX Bandits en la actualidad, en esta ocasión con la voz de Katrina susurrando una melodía irresistible con unos teclados etéreos de fondo. About you (cover de The Jesus and Mary Chain), es aquí una canción de Jangle-Pop entonada por Stephen, quien por momentos nos recuerda en la misma a la voz de Lou Reed, tal es la profundidad que demuestra; todo ello aderezado con un arsenal de guitarras y teclados que crean un ambiente mágico. Y por último, la que es sin duda la mejor canción de la colección, Vivid Youth, una especie de redescubrimiento generacional de The Pastels a cualquier seguidor que todavía no les conociese, un temazo que demuestra, al mismo tiempo, madurez creativa y frescura compositiva a partes iguales. Por cierto, entre otros colaboradores han participado en el disco Norman Blake y Gerard Love, como atestigua el vídeo que aparecerá el próximo lunes. Por cierto, The Pastels han prometido nuevo álbum en breve. Habrá que esperar…
“The idea of us recording together came from Tenniscoats,’ Stephen McRobbie recalls. ‘They suggested they would like to record with us at the end of a Scottish tour in 2006. I know we were excited but maybe wondering if they meant some kind of completely improvised session. But it turned out Tenniscoats already had a song, Two Sunsets, which they wanted to record with us and another, slightly more abstract piece called Welcome To The Sea which was also beautiful.’
Two Sunsets thus took shape across several years’ worth of collaboration, involving recording with Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), and several sessions with Bal Cooke (who helped with The Pastels’ soundtrack from 2002, The Last Great Wilderness), which McRobbie remembers as ‘sunny and productive, we were never stuck.’
The result is an exceptional set of twelve songs that somehow simultaneously capture the first flower of the collaborative effort and all of its attendant excitement, and a confidence that only comes from artists who are at the top of their craft. Strikingly, the album manifests the elements at their most evocative – from the overarching theme of ‘duality’, and gentle grandeur of Two Sunsets, through the aquatic logic of Boats and Start Slowly So We Sound Like A Loch, the dizzy sweetness of Mou Mou Rainbow’s index of colour, to the autumnal glory of their cover of the Jesus And Mary Chain’s About You. (Or there’s Sodane – ‘Saya asked Tom [Crossley, of International Airport] to play some flute to sound like cherry blossom falling from the tree,’ Katrina Mitchell says, ‘and Tom seemed to play exactly that.’) It sounds radiant, full of life and charm. ‘I think Saya described the music as something like Pastels underneath, sounding beautiful like a big cloud,’ McRobbie smiles, ‘with Tenniscoats flying over.’
Elsewhere, the Pastels crew take control for Vivid Youth, which reminds of Orange Juice at their most soul-reverent, naturally stylish and possessing a wonderfully assured, yet unassuming gait; Boats, originally intended for the next Pastels album ‘proper’, builds on the pacific wisdom and quiet drama of both their 1997 masterpiece Illumination and Tenniscoats’ lovely Ending Theme. The entire album is flecked with detail, with windmills of woodwind winding through Vivid Youth, buzzing organ skating over the clicking tock of the drums in About You, the Oliver Postgate reveries sounded by the flute that wanders through Hikoki, or the Fripp-esque reels of guitar delay trailing off amongst the title song’s dying embers.
Two Sunsets, then, posts pop as a series of experiences, from the fleeting to the rapturous, from the hypnotic to the transcendent. It’s casual, intimate, and generous. It’s also communal – alongside Tenniscoats’ Saya and Ueno, and Pastels hardcore Stephen McRobbie and Katrina Mitchell, permanent and occasional guests like Gerard Love, Alison Mitchell and Bill Wells appear, and Sodane is co-written with Maher Shalal Hash Baz’s Reiko Kudo. Most of all, though, I love that this record sounds lived, moulded by human hands, not done by ‘committee’. Like everything else both groups have been involved with, it’s very natural and unforced, and warm and humble, in its own brave, exploratory way”
(Jon Dale,
Cómpralo/Get it

“Vivid Youth looks like this summer but makes you think of last summer too; hopeful and kind of strident sounding, the spectacular moment when a bonfire really catches fire. And in the shadow there’s something else too, something secretive, beautiful and exciting. This Pastels Tenniscoats sound is very summerish, everyone’s playing feels very of the moment; maybe it’s the evening to Billy Stewart’s Sitting In The Park or Hugh Masekela’s Grazing In The Grass. Night time is inevitably Question Mark & The Mysterians. That’s what I think anyway. A bright coloured, brilliant moment, a Gerard Love and Katrina Mitchell composition. An ‘almost’ pop single? An unhesitant yes”(

4 diciembre, 2009 Posted by | Tenniscoats, The Pastels | Deja un comentario


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