There’s something almost a little bit too perfect with the story behind Tennis: after graduating from University, husband and wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley had no direction, and no jobs. But instead of applying for some menial post-grad job they decided to go sailing around the coast of America for eight months. After releasing the Marathon EP last year, Cape Dory is the final product of that voyage, charting their adventures along the coast to the tune of floaty 80s synths.
Cape Dory is an album-long love song to all things nautical, even when the going gets tough as on ‘Long Boat Pass’ when Moore croons about sailing on rough seas. Opener ‘Take Me Somewhere’ is a brilliant introduction with a foundation stone of a playful riff that sets out what the band are all about from the offset. This is a band that are very sweet, and are proud of it: every bit of the loved-up atmosphere sounds completely genuine and heartfelt. They’re laidback and earnest, with a very sunny outlook that makes you daydream of lying on some California beach.
Despite the loveliness of some of the new tracks, it’s the reworking of songs from the Marathon EP that are the stand-out tracks here. None of them have had a complete stylistic overhaul, but have been fine-tuned to fit in better with the larger collection of songs on Cape Dory. ‘Marathon’ in particular has been turned into a particularly fine ditty that shows off the sweetness and charm of Moore’s voice over the toned-down melody that accompanies her. Tennis seem to have realised that subtlety is the key to making their songs work, and this realisation has vastly improved the older songs.
Occasionally, Tennis are just a little bit too sweet and this sickliness denies them the title of being a great new indie-pop band, but there’s no denying that the photo-album structure of Cape Dory and the masterful new versions of old tunes makes listening to the album the perfect antidote to those horrible winter blues.
7 OUT OF 10
Cape Dory is released on 18th January on the Fat Possum Label. You can check out ‘Marathon’ below:
This article appears in FreedomSpark Online