When listening to the swaying tunes of Tennis’ new album, Cape Dory, two very generic cinematic images come to mind. Not akin to a particular film, but the lo-fi simple melodies and sweet vocals seem as if they would be the accompanying soundtrack to a scene depicting a ‘50s prom slow dance or a couple lovingly gazing at each other as they sail away into the sunset. Cape Dory is packed with easy-listening little ditties that are instantly likeable because they are uncomplicated, fuzzy, sunny-day songs.
These images conjured when listening to the album are fitting given the source. Tennis is compromised of a husband and wife duo hailing from the landlocked, mountainous city of Denver. Wait? That doesn’t make sense … or does it? The duo departed from their fair city to explore the shores of the Eastern seaboard via sailboat for seven months. The album is the result of their passion-filled joy cruise. Lovey-dovey to the point of nearly having a warning by the ADA, Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore sound more enamored than two teenagers announcing they are going steady.
Cape Dory is a one cool way to document their journey. The breezy maritime theme is felt in all aspects from the playful surf-rock riffs, to Moore’s warm croons, down to song titles such as, “Long Boat Pass,” “Bimni Bay” and “Pigeon.” The lyrics reflect their love and travels as Moore sings on the final track, “Water Birds” how she dreams of the salty marshes and, “…when you kiss me, you really kiss me.” The standout track comes mid-album in “Marathon.” On this song, amidst a sea of “ohhs” and “ahhs,” you can’t help, but find yourself smiling, swaying and resisting the urge to hand clap and add a “shoo whoop sha whoop.”
If you are seeking something new, edgy and outside-the-box, there are more fish in the sea for you. There are no experiments, no wacky infusion of electronic blips. This is music you could play for everyone from your niece to your grandfather, and they would all probably like it. It’s very safe and happy. It teeters pretty damn close to the edge of being overly saccharine and cheesy. But, hey, we all love a good Rom-Com every now and again.
Words: Lori Bartlett
Album: Cape Dory
Label: Fat Possum
Release Date: Jan. 18, 2011