Tennis: Young & Old

    It’s a story you’ve read on blogs time and time again: Indie-pop trio Tennis was formed by husband and wife Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, who used a sailing trip up the Atlantic as inspiration for their debut Cape Dory. 

    Unsurprisingly, the band itself is sick of hearing this cutesy background, which is why it makes a point to distance themselves from all things nautical on follow-up Young & Old. In case it wasn’t obvious enough: Moore goes so far to croon “I took a train to/ I took a train to get you” in the opening lines.

    See, they’re traveling via locomotive now — not sailboat. 

    That’s not the only change found on Tennis’ second effort. With the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney on board as producer and drummer James Barone fully integrated in the lineup, the band is bolder than ever. 

    Take first single “Origins”: While certainly no wall of sound, the track sees the band trading Dory’s jangly beach-pop for richer girl-group vibes, with crisp backup vocals and (oddly enough) a bluesy guitar solo thrown into the standard indie-pop mix.

    “Petition,” in particular, sounds exactly like a Black Keys song, only with Moore’s Diana Ross-like vocals instead of the expected soulful growl. Even the lyrics take a turn for the dark: “High Road” culminates in Moore belting, “Paradise is all around, but happiness is never found” — glum stuff for a band with a track called “Waterbird” in its discography. 

    But despite this refreshing change of pace from the band, the sweetest moments are when Tennis surrenders to the melody and own its trademark whimsy. (6/10) 

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