Looking around the Internet I was surprised to discover that my local broadsheet had interviewed the members of Tenniscoats in June. They toured here and I missed it. I regret that. “Sharing things with other people is my heart food,” said Saya Ueno, the duo’s female half, in that interview. On Totemo Aimasho they play enveloping stretches of minimal psyche-sound with occasional Japanese singing from Saya and sometimes a touch of brass that sounds like the little-brother echo of their more challenging friends Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Maher depend for their success on the goodwill of the audience—they’re easy to dislike but rewarding if you don’t—and so, to a lesser extent, do the Tenniscoats. Their softness can seem passive; the repetitions in a track like “Jitsuri” can rub on a listener’s patience, and it would be simple to call them too gentle if you didn’t want anything to do with them. They like you, though. Communicating with people “makes my brain feel softly warm,” said Saya. Totemo Aimasho is a nice, soft, warm bowl of heart food, a morsel to sup or sip, but not one that you could crunch or chew.
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