Glasgow's Pastels team up with Tokyo's Tenniscoats for album of hazy pop

Glasgow’s Pastels and Tokyo’s Tenniscoats reportedly recorded this collaborative album over the course of three years, booking sessions whenever the latter group happened to be in Scotland.

“Two Sunsets” (Domino) is nothing if not a testament to the power of patience. Listening to the disc’s dozen tracks — lazy, hazy twee-pop tunes that kiss the ears and tug on the eyelids — it’s clear that no one was in a hurry to get this stuff on tape, and that the music is all the better for it.

The album’s gentle sound is something of a surprise, given the involvement of the Pastels. The group is known for pioneering the “C-86” sound, a jangly brand of pop punk that takes its name from a 1986 compilation cassette distributed by the British rock magazine “New Musical Express.”

In their heyday, the Pastels ran roughshod over pop conventions, and for as lovely as their songs could be, they were often sloppily played and sung out of tune. Here, the band is on its best behavior, building each composition on languid, jangling guitar; subtle piano accents; light-handed glockenspiel; and the occasional trumpet or flute riff.

Tenniscoats lead singer Saya alternates between English and Japanese, though her choice of language is fairly irrelevant. Her delivery is breathy and soothing to the point of unintelligibility, and her words drift past like puffy little clouds, dissolving as quickly as they appear.

Pastels front man Stephen McRobbie joins Saya on “Song For a Friend” and the Jesus and Mary Chain cover “About You,” and even if he can’t match the delicacy of her whisper, he proves a fine duet partner.

On “Boats,” Saya rhymes “trees on the beach” with “lemonade in reach,” her elocution welcome but hardly necessary. After all, by track 8, we already know we’re reclining on a hammock, swinging over the sand.

— Kenneth Partridge

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