Monday, 31 August 2009

more skinny reviews: pastels/tenniscoats, trashcan sinatras, the big pink

here are three more reviews recently posted over at

Trashcan Sinatras - In The Music (***)

Despite pre-dating contemporaries such as Teenage Fanclub and having more than their fair share of seminal moments tucked away in their unjustly niche back-catalogue, Trashcan Sinatras have never managed to inspire quite the same levels of devotion as the Fannies. In The Music is too pedestrian to prompt any major re-evaluation of the band’s ranking in the literary Scot-pop pantheon, but it’ll at least add further gems to their repertoire. Prisons is a cheery jaunt that skips and jumps with delicately deft indie-pop nous, but it’s Should I Pray? (featuring Carly Simon on co-vocals) that impresses most by stylishly breaking free from the overly obvious indie-pop paradigm. For the album’s highlight, the Irvine-ites wrap themselves in a plastic soul sheen and adopt a smooth strut closer to Philly soulsters The Delfonics than anything born of a Glasgow postcode, and in the process redeem the album’s more tepid moments.

Pastels/Tenniscoats - Two Sunsets (*****)

The evocative title of this collaboration between Glasgow’s Pastels and Tokyo’s Tenniscoats neatly summarises its scope, cleanly articulating the twin creative impetuses and their distant origins on the banks of the Clyde and the Sumida. These titular skies cast shimmering reflections in the music’s deep pools of willowy sighs and gentle swells, with opening instrumental Tokyo Glasgow making the record’s duality unmistakable. There’s no abrasive culture clash here, only harmony.

Tenniscoats singer Saya’s bilingual vocals demonstrate that listeners don’t necessarily need to understand the lyrics to be moved by the sentiment, but those couplets that are discernable are unabashedly lovely - in particular the fragile lament that glides on Song For A Friend’s intensely pretty melody. Elsewhere, Start Slowly So We Sound Like A Loch makes floating in icy waters sound positively lush, while Saya’s own description of Sodane’s flute as “like cherry blossom falling from a tree” might sound twee and pretentious if it weren’t so apt. Two Sunsets, then, is a tale of two cities: an enveloping delight both familiar and unusual, gentle in its tempo yet invigorating in its possibilities.

The Big Pink - Dominos (****)

Until now, The Big Pink’s creepy crawly atmospherics seemed an unlikely target for industry hype: too weird, too esoteric and too light on direct pop thrills (though Disintegration-era Cure mixed with spaced-out shoegaze has plentiful appeal in itself). To make the expected jump they needed their own Time To Pretend – a song so instant that blogging tastemakers and mainstream masses alike would take firm notice. Dominos is that song –its lushly shimmering glitch-pop underbelly belies the laddish sentiments of the lyrics, and if its crunchy chorus chant isn’t already bouncing around your cranium it will be in the near future.

(you can tell the stuff i copy and paste from the skinny - i get all careful with ma capital letters an a' that)

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