Spotlight – 7: The Pastels/Tenniscoats
Notes written on my iWhatever about the forthcoming Pastels and Tenniscoats collaboration Two Sunsets on the plane flying into Perth at sunset for the Revelation Film Festival.
Now if I was writing this up for a Guardian or Plan B article then obviously I would structure and make sense of my initial impressions, but I’m not. Also I thought it might be of interest to view the raw material that reviews can sometimes start from. Also, Jon Dale has written such a great press release – which I’m sure you can access by contacting Hermana PR or Domino Records or whomever – it would’ve felt churlish and/or cheating to attempt to best or copy his eloquent prose. The comments were added in afterwards.
Trickle, gentle, pastoral, playful, human, consciously beautiful and mature while remaining essentially childlike. (My wife, upon hearing the cover of the Jesus And Mary Chain song for the first time, commented, “That sounds like they actually intended it to sound”.) Dreamy, distant, layered yet somehow spontaneous. (See the problem with adjectives? If they’re going to be accurate they’re going to be contradicting or at odds with one another half the time.) Intimate and upclose like a welcome lover’s waking breath. (I’m talking initial impressions here: waking breath never smells so sweet the 5,000th time around.)
Melancholy. Gentle. Respectful of language (of music, of communication) and the culture. Not brash at all. (Um. Well, of course. We are talking The Pastels and Tenniscoats here.) Sun rising or sun going down. Oranges and yellows and clear White. The odd entrail of bruised blue. (Now I’m going into straight observation here.) Seamless. Colours within colours, worlds within worlds. Helpless. Smitten. Not innocent, yet… (Innocent is such a wrongly overused word.) The gentle comedown to MHSB. Chill out. (My friend from The Deadnotes was proudly parading his new Maher Shalal Hash Baz album last Thursday: 140 songs, often a minute or shorter, and all with 10-second breaks in between.) (Bangs on a bike, this language I’m using is cliched. No wonder I’ve given up criticism for a living.)
Are we lost, Katrina and TC and clarinet ask? I fervently hope so. In the Great Lost Wilderness where only magical birds trill. (Reference to previous Pastels outing, partly because it features Jarvis Cocker, and the part where Katrina asks whether we’re lost, and I reply I fervently hope so, really reminds me of watching Pulp perform ‘Sorted For E’s And Wizz’ at T In The Park, the line, “What if you never come down”…and thinking that although he sang it mournfully, wouldn’t that be great?) Melodic. Mournful but not sad. More like solemn and joyful when sunlight streams through stained glass at a particular time of day (or the eddies of vapour steaming up from the trees surrounding our deck early this morning). A sea of fluffed cushions. (Observation again.)
The future recedes into view. Thoughtful. Really thoughtful. Arriving at Edinburgh station in the late 80s, filled with anticipation. This one goes out to… This one goes out. (Yeah, whatever.)