Coastlines / 2 / Flower Records

Tokyo’s Flower Records announced Coastlines` sophomore album, the simply titled, 2, late last week. Balearic believers all over the globe must have had their fingers on their buzzers, because the vinyl edition, perhaps predictably, sold out – on pre-order – in a blink. Never fear though, as there will of course be some international shop stock, and my money’s on a repress already being cued / queued. 

The duo, of Takumi Kaneko and Masanori Ikeda, don’t drastically alter their sonic template, or deviate from their musical mission too much, and stay focused on delivering 12 new tracks of tropical fusion. Serving up a set of sophisticated sunset / sunrise serenades, where everything is rippling keys and gentle, lapping, percussive tides. Coloured by virtuoso displays, packed with jazz juice. Organ orchestration switching between warm Wurlitzer washes, Timmy Thomas “Why Can’t We Live Together” tones, and chunkier Clavinet, “Superstition”, strutting. The tempo that of bossa novas, sambas, lullabies and seductive slow dances. The melodies moving, emotional, most definitely romantic. The vibe that of an afternoon spent sipping cocktails, swinging in a hammock, in the sunshine. So if you`re sat, trapped, in the city, the horizon overcast, grey, and rain on the way, then it`s actually a deceptively powerful aural psychedelic.  

Tracks, such as Waves And Rays, nod towards the squelchy `80s machine soul of Mtume, the productions of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. The soaring, blue sky-scraping, synths summoning some Mandre 4-esque magic. In places these electro-boogie b-lines bend acidic, while in others the steel pan tunings are stretched into sitar-like shapes. Area Code 868 might, at least in part, be inspired Herb Alpert`s Rotation – the opening riff recalling that classic, before Takumi`s piano-playing takes it somewhere else entirely. 

My favourites are Yasmin`s Theme, one of several Brazilian-flavoured pieces present, and the kinda Art Of Noise ace-ness of Combustione Lenta. The former is driven, all be it ever so slowly, by the carnival beat of batucada`s big bass surdo drum, and harbours some haunting, happy, vocal harmonies. The latter has an “organic” Moments In Love feel, accompanied by blues-y, Peter Green-esque, electric guitar arcs. The combination creating a pretty idyllic, eyes-closed, reclining, relaxing on an isolated beach, holiday soundtrack / score. Lower your lids, listen, and let the world, and that mess of stress in your head, melt away. 

Coastlines 2 will be released on May 11th, care of Flower Records. 

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