Tenniscoats Papa's Ear

Morr Music
24th May 2022

Stephen's Pick

View All Staff Picks

Format Info

2LP - Black Vinyl
CD - deluxe

Just over a decade ago, Japanese avant-pop duo Tenniscoats recorded Papa’s Ear and Tan-Tan Therapy with the expert assistance of Johan Berthling’s excellent Tape project.  Originally released on Häpna, they’re both beautiful documents of the exploratory music made by a close-knit collective of musicians, fully at ease with each other, playing songs written by Tenniscoats and arranging them in gentle and generous ways. Until now these records have never been made available on vinyl.

This reissue mini-series starts with Papa’s Ear, originally released in 2012. The expanded Tenniscoats lineup gels in glorious style – musicians in tune with each other – graceful and egoless. Tenniscoats and Tape are perfectly suited making music without boundaries.

Papa’s Ear includes some of Tenniscoats most memorable songs – Papaya is a lustrous dreamland of a song, with the Swedish musicians singing ‘pa-pa-ya’ as an enchanted tattoo, while Saya’s piano and melodica clank and huff out, further expanding the song’s horizon. It’s followed by the spindly and mysterious”Sappolondon”, where drums and double-bass shuffle and pulse under weeping accordion and bittersweet clarinet. Saya’s voice sighs into the frame while the musicians breathe lungfuls of sweet drones and flick glittering countermelodies across the song’s surface. It reminds a little of the wild kindness of Movietone, or the regal charm of Carla Bley’s compositions.

Elsewhere, you can hear Tape and their friends embracing the freedom offered by the songs of Tenniscoats: see, for example, the glistening electronics in På floden, like a keyboard conducting a music box on a distant planet; or the descending phrase for winds on Sabaku, dovetailing beautifully into a creek of moonlit texturology.

The double-LP ends with two extra tracks, drawn from the 2008 Tenniscoats / Tape split single, also released by Häpna. Lutie Lutie is a sweet delight, driven by a clacking drum machine, the Tenniscoats duo joined by Hallonsten on glockenspiel and synthesizer, and special guest, Japanese indie-pop legend Kazumi Nikaido, as choir. “Come Maddalena” rounds off the set, a brooding cover of an Ennio Morricone tune, the music by Tape, the vocals by Tenniscoats and Nikaido. Open-hearted and full of puckish spirit, Papa’s Ear is an album of great tenderness and warm friendship.



1  Higa Noboru / The Sun Rises (2022 Remaster) 04:39

2  Hikoki / Airplane (2022 Remaster) 08:12

3  Kuki No Soko / The Bottom of the Air (2022 Remaster) 04:29

4  Papaya (2022 Remaster) 04:42

5  Sappolondon (2022 Remaster) 03:57

6  New Seasons Dead (2022 Remaster) 05:15

7  På Floden / On the River (2022 Remaster) 03:27

8  Sabaku / Desert (2022 Remaster) 06:00

9  Tanjobi No Yokan / Expectation of Birth (2022 Remaster) 04:10

Other Releases by Tenniscoats

You might also like…