The Pastels / Tenniscoats Two Sunsets

Fuzzy sweaters, bed head and horn rims, the Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning" on endless repeat while you read the paper and drink half-coffee, half-hot chocolate. Okay, now you're ready for the sweet and woolly ball of goodness put together by these long-running, Scottish, gangly pop merchants and their new Japanese buddies. Saya and Takashi Ueno (Tenniscoats) have spent the '00s crafting gentle psychedelic pop albums that bunny hop the border between contemporary experiments and classic styles. Meanwhile, the Pastels have built a fort of discarded C86 cassettes that keep them, more or less, protected from time's passage. The album grew slowly from recordings made each time the Uenos played a show in Scotland, involving a revolving door of the Pastels through the ages. As such, the pieces are a crazy quilt of twee Japanoise ("Yomigaeru"), narcotized Jesus and Mary Chain ("About You") and clever crossbreeding ("Sodane"). It all works by not trying too hard to work in the first place. (Domino)