Monday, January 17, 2011

Album Review: Tennis - Cape Dory

Longing for a past vacation will lead most folks to peruse their trip pictures or just daydream, but not husband and wife duo Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore. Instead, they formed Tennis and wrote their debut album, Cape Dory.

Tennis combine 60s pop, a yacht rock aesthetic, and misty lo-fi production to create an album full of reflective pop songs. The album opens with Moore asking, “Take me somewhere,” and follows that up with two to three minute snapshots of their trip.

On “Marathon” we learn that “Coconut Grove is a very small cove” and that Riley and Moore “arrived at high tide” and weren’t sure if they’d make it out alive. There’s something appealing about the simplicity of the storytelling and the sparse nature of the music. It feels like sitting in someone’s living room watching a slide show, except the hosts aren’t trying to show off. They genuinely enjoyed their trip enough they can’t hold back.

There’s a sweetness to Cape Dory. Beyond the descriptions of nautical life and a myriad of harbors is a story of two people in love. Often we get to hear the beginning or end of a love story, but rarely to do we see one in process. Riley and Moore are right in the middle of their story and it comes out on tracks like “Pigeon” where Moore sounds perfectly content as she sings “ I will be there, I promise to take care of you”

At times Cape Dory can blend together like even the most interesting vacation slide shows, but by the album’s close you’ll will probably want to head for open water as well.

Cape Dory is due out on Fat Possum Records January 18. Tennis will play Local 506 on Monday, March 7.

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