Last we heard from Kyoto’s Turntable Films, they were embracing a more muted sound on the disappointing 10 Days Plus One mini album, clumsy folk and awful attempts at Nashville swagger drowning out the few good ideas they had. The halcyon days of “2steps” seemed lost, traded in for a boring approach better suited for your family’s worst attempt at a campfire.
“Misleading Interpretations,” from the (now a) trio’s forthcoming Yellow Yesterday, isn’t a return to the giddy rush of “2stpes,” but it’s also a huge departure from the doldrums of 10 Days Plus One. Turntable Films go wistful here, the lyrics borrowing from the great indie-pop theme book to dwell on loneliness (“I judge myself in front of a mirror each night”), crushes (“you might not like me once you get inside/behind that smiling face I’m really shy”) and, in a nice touch that undercuts the gloom, paranoia (“I feel like I’m being watched at night”). Yet this isn’t typical twee cupcake frosting – thanks to a bouncy sound highlighted by glassy bell chimes ripped straight from early Oughts Yo La Tengo and better recording than most indie-pop artists, “Misleading Interpretations” rises above imitation and incorporates enough of the group’s older sound (those pastoral keyboard notes) to be one of the stronger tacks in the trio’s young catalog. On their last release, a song like this could easily have ended up as a total downer, more stripped down and slow. Here it skirts the line between melancholic and upbeat, the whole track avoiding becoming a lanky bit of “awww shucks” pop thanks to the optimism peaking out. Watch the (pretty funny single-take!) video below.