The subtle shoegaze and delicate dream pop found on Tanukichan's debut album, Sundays, was created by Hannah van Loon with an assist from Chaz Bear of Toro y Moi fame. The duo set out to create an album that captured the lazy, hazy, and introspective mood of a Sunday afternoon, and they succeeded. The songs roll by slowly on puffy clouds of fuzzy guitars and lighter-than-air vocals, with tempos that feel like the gentle flow of a stream over rocks. They create a welcoming, enveloping sound that any fan of classic '90s shoegaze should be glad to discover and champion, because unlike many of the bands inspired by that era, Tanukichan doesn't stop at the sound -- the songs have real emotional weight. Van Loon delves deeply into the kind of melancholy that can leave one frozen in place; songs like the title track and "Like the Sun" transmit that terrible feeling, but the warmth of the vocals and the comforting embrace of the blown-out guitar noise help to melt it just a little. Along with tracks that come across like they could have been on Creation circa 1991, there are some tracks that dial back the noise and tread close to Cocteau Twins territory. "The Blue Sky" has guitars that twinkle and van Loon's voice is positively angelic; "This Time" delivers soft rock smoothness; and the "Bitter Medicine," with its fragmented guitars and steady pulse, show that Tanukichan would be a fine post-punk revival project if van Loon steered it in that direction. No matter what the pair do on Sundays, it works thanks to the stellar songcraft and van Loon's guitar skills and beaming vocals. Added to that is a factor that truly pushes the album over the top into greatness: the delicate and always perfectly calibrated arrangements that never let the songs sink too far into gloom or float away into the ether. As lots of bands have been only too glad to advertise, it's tough to make a shoegaze album in the late 2010s that doesn't sink into hero worship or suffer by comparison to the work of the originals. Even Ride and Slowdive had trouble! That Tanukichan have come up with an album that sounds original and true while bringing deep emotions along for the ride is truly something worth commending. ~ Tim Sendra
Pitchfork (Website) - "Through heavy distortion, bleeding basslines, and eerie lyrics, Van Loon captures the spirit of a day whose wide-open nature fosters anxieties as well as ambitions."