“In the heat of the day all I can dream was the big blue sky with all that I’ve seen.” Vague words indeed but lyrics that resonate with anyone currently lying down on grass staring contemplatively at the heavens on a summer Sunday afternoon. This sort of sums up the debut record from Oakland, California-based Hannah Van Loon, who goes under the Japanese moniker Tanukichan, a record that’s imprecise with its murmured observations yet its overall feeling of longing and directionless reflection encapsulate many a young person’s summer state of mind. It’s a time when an overthinker’s mind runs wild.
Sundays is produced by Chillwave pioneer Chaz Bear of Toro Y Moi and is a departure from Hannah’s work with previous band, indie pop project Trails and Ways. This is because unlike its bubbly and energetic predecessor, Tanukichan’s music is largely built on simplistic drum machine, shoegaze fuzz circulating (sometimes suffocating) around a Stina Norderstam-reminiscent nonchalant vocal performance. Much of the record is similar to Nordenstam’s Dynamite in its screeching and feedback but without the dark themed undertones.
Although Sundays mostly adheres to the shoegaze genre’s credential of lyrical blurriness, the words that are hearable give an insight into her genuine yearning for perfect love: “Kiss you tonight. It’s a natural delight. Help me feel right” (‘Natural’), “the feeling sits inside my soul. Don’t know where to take control.” (‘The Best’) and “Is my confidence in you unwise? But I think I see in your eyes.” (‘This Time’).
Those not fond of all the fuzz will still take pleasure in many aspects of the record. From the jangly-guitar meets drum machine moments on kin to The Cure on ‘Bitter Medicine’, lush ethereal airiness of title track ‘Sundays’, ‘The Blue Sky’s’ hazy loops and the woozy synths on ‘This Time’.
Sundays feels appropriate right now and is surprisingly relaxing despite the fuzzy elements but it doesn’t demand the attention to avoid it dissolving into background music, lacks memorable lyrics to make it quotable, lacks the edgy streak of which her project’s name suggests (a Tanuki is a mischievous animal in Japanese folklore) and when the weekdays of autumn arrive it could be largely forgotten about.
Sundays is out on 13th July through Company Records.