Album Review: Tenniscoats - All Aboard!

12 November 2012 | 9:58 am | Christopher H James

Limited by nothing other than the collective boundaries of their imaginations.

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One of the lesser-known highlights of the inaugural This Is Nowhere festival was undoubtedly Tenniscoats, whose playful spontaneity mesmerised fans and non-fans alike. Continuing their prolific streak for 2012, the Japanese indie-pop duo Saya and Takashi Ueno's second full-length release, All Aboard!, features much the same lo-fi tinkering as its predecessor, Papa's Ear, and builds on their repertoire of warm, idiosyncratic sounds and understated charm.

Patently sociable and willing to exchange ideas, the bulk of Tenniscoats' albums have been collaborative affairs. All Aboard! features the talents of drummer Ikuro Takahashi (from psychedelic dreadnaught crews High Rise and LSD March), whose drumming is mostly discrete, subtly augmenting the rhythms of Takashi's guitar. Alternating between electric, acoustic and other instruments that might have once been child's toys, highlights include the unexpectedly funky wah-wah vehicle, Shinjitsu Pan, the psychotropic drift of Hoochi Chikoo Man, and Yume Wa Sukkiri, which is oddly like one of Sigur Ros' quieter moments, lacking the Icelandic band's epic scope but embodying similarly acute longings with undaunted optimism.

The brilliance of Tenniscoats is that whilst a number of these ideas don't sound particularly impressive on paper – some of them, such as the freak-out whistling solo on Mosha Mosha Mo, sound like they wouldn't work at all – this unabashed duo have the instincts, receptivity and imagination to amalgamate these oddballs ideas into a child-like, psychedelic pop that wanders through to sunny pastures somewhere off the map, limited by nothing other than the collective boundaries of their imaginations.