Tennis – Cape Dory [Review]

Setting the blogesphere alight last year, Tennis have brought some of their much welcomed sunshine pop – awash with a 50’s surf sound – with them into their debut full length Cape Dory.

This married duo became Tennis following their high-tide ventures on their boat – the Swift Ranger – in which they sailed around the Eastern Seaboard. Bands are not often formed on boats but Tennis seem to have this nailed down – tales of shifting tides, sea air and long evenings encapsulate the romance of adventure – more importantly their adventure.
Falling into this up-front romantic escapism is easy, almost expected, as they flourish into lo-fi guitars and swooning harmonies.

The beach sound and ocean themes are the obvious influences from their sailing expeditions and also the 50’s and 60’s influences that are reinforced by ‘sha la la’s’ – that wouldn’t be out of place on a Shirelles track – throughout, alongside the catchy melodies and a purposeful lo-fi recording.
However it is Alaina Moore’s sweet croon that really draws you in. The refrain is purposeful and dramatic in its delivery – in all the bits that matter – flowing through delightful opener ‘Take Me Somewhere’. Patrick Riley’s guitars, awash with reverb and resonating the tones of Best Coast, Spectrals and the ilk, stutter into simple, dreamy melodies and straightforward, uncomplicated chord structures. It is in this simplicity that you lose yourself as the songs roll gently into one another in waves and feel almost longingly nostalgic for each other.

Some of 2010’s singles also feature here; ‘Baltimore’, ‘Marathon’ and ‘South Carolina’ are set across the album and fit snuggly between the newer additions.
‘Marathon’ sets the bar and really forces the couple to delve deeper into the adventure and look for something extra. When the rest of the album passes by, the tune you’ll still be humming is the ‘oohhing’ melodies of ‘Marathon’ and whistling the guitar hook of ‘South Carolina’.

Without having to be too convincing, Tennis have produced an album that blissfully washes all over you.
Perhaps the next album will come to life after a hiking expedition – it wouldn’t be too far fetched.

-Scott Kerr

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