Tenniscoats Tan Tan Therapy

Label
Morr Music
Released
7th October 2022

Format Info

CD
LP

LP Incl. printed inner sleeves & Obi incl. download code

CD Tri-fold Digisleeve

Just over a decade ago, Japanese indie-pop duo Tenniscoats recorded “Papa’s Ear” (2012) and “Tan-Tan Therapy” (2007), two albums made with musical and production help from Swedish post-rock/folk trio Tape. Originally released on Häpna, they are 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. Released during a prolific phase of collaboration for Tenniscoats – during the late ’00s and early ’10s, they would also collaborate with Jad Fair, The Pastels, Secai and Pastacas – they have, however, never been available on vinyl. In collaboration with Alien Transistor, Morr Music is now reissuing these albums with bonus material.

Filled with graceful pop songs, autumnal folk tunes, and gentle yet risk-taking improvisations, “Tan-Tan Therapy” was the first Tenniscoats album to be released in Europe, after a run of albums on Japanese labels, and the excellent “Live Wanderus” (2005) on Australian imprint Chapter Music. It was also the first recorded evidence of their collaboration with the three members of Tape and that group’s extended musical family. It opens with one of Tenniscoats‘ signature songs, the pop fantasia of “Baibaba Bimba”, with Tenniscoats singer Saya repeating a light-headed incantation over joyous brass. The essence of Tenniscoats is contained in “Baibaba Bimba”: uplifting melody and playful musicianship, tinged with distant echoes of winsome melancholy.

From there, “Tan-Tan Therapy” explores many hues of lustrous blue. “Oetu to kanki no Namoriuta (Given Song of Sob and Joy)” is an aquatic arbour, the musicians’ gentle performances growing together like vines and seaweed as Saya‘s voice swims through the waterway. “Umbarepa!” is full of play and pleasure, sparkling with glockenspiel as snare drum tattoos push the song ever-forward. “Abi and Travel” floats past, a lovely instrumental built from shifting layers of synthesizer and pianet; “Good B.”, an extra track originally only available on the Japanese edition of “Tan-Tan Therapy“, is added to this reissue, and follows a similar thread, its humming pump and Hammond organs swirling under beautiful vocals from Saya and guest performer Kazumi Nikaido.

Throughout, you can sense the deep empathy the members of Tenniscoats and Tape have for one another. It’s a conversational, tender and, at times, fragile music that can only be created out of mutual trust and kindness, with each of the players contributing to the community of sound they’re building. There’s an element here, too, of feeling out the possibilities of what this creative meeting can achieve, something reflected in the loose-limbs sprawl of “Marui Hifo (Everyone)”, which echoes the seaside drift of Bristol post-rock group Crescent, and the following “One Swan Swim”, a dreamsong redolent of the sleepy sensorium of Robert Wyatt‘s “Rock Bottom”.

The freedom and liberty at the heart of Tenniscoats is something Tape and their friends have picked up on, beautifully so, and run with during the entirety of “Tan-Tan Therapy“. This is music with its wings outstretched, wanting to take to the air, ready to fly.

 

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