Thursday, 9 February 2012

Tennis - Young and Old

Not even one year on and Tennis announce their second album. They publicly stated thy can't write and compose whilst on tour, so they wrote these songs whilst on tour (intentional). They just announced their latest tour which has one show in the UK which is at 'Hoxton Bar And Kitchen', London. I had to look this place up because It sounds like something Roald Dahl would create. Turns out it's in Hackney. So they're going for that matured sound here. The album name reflects singer Alaina's vision of maturity and that idea of a changed life due to the initial success of Cape Dory. It's an interesting theme and I hope the music can convey something more futuristic which they can build on. It's also a coincidence this album's being released on the 14th of February (Valentines Day for you lonely readers).

The opener is entitled 'It All Feels The Same'. Instantly, I cans sense the great understanding of a perfect studio recording and what it does to your sound. On Cape Dory, Tennis would rush and create these lo-fi textures which didn't work together as a whole. The opener just has that simplistic guitar riff and clear vocal which they needed in Cape. With the inclusion of a drummer and a fourth touring member, they've clearly taken in the following aspects after this album is released. The song blows up and sounds brilliant with that synthesizer riff. Beach House springs to mind. If Beach House were a fast paced Indie Pop group.

'Origins' has a brilliant dark section which splits the track in two. These little dynamic changes are welcomed. The single noted piano reigns strong on this track. The bass is rather overpowering but the track as a whole is lovely. It's been well produced and drumming is very clear and garage rock-esque. wailing vocals end the track which have been multi layered and effected. 

Song structure has really been taken into consideration on this record. The single 'My Better Self' has a simplistic but sticking chord progression. Although it's overused in today's music, this progression creates that delicate saddening mood which bands utilise so well with dark lyrics. The lyrics are hard to interprete, but I can make out some pretty dark material here. I'm not going to loose sleep over the 'meaning' Alaina is singing about. it's a well recorded track and has some brilliant vocal harmonies towards the end.

'Travelling' is fast paced and has such a great feel to it. The vibe has definitely raised hopes for me. It's much brighter and the organ sounds give me an image of a sea side resort, something which I know Tennis would love. They should be playing Brighton beach or Blackpool rather than Hoxton Bar And Kitchen in Hackney. 'Petitiion' again gives me that Beach House vibe. it's the keyboard sound which just reminds me of Beach House. The fact Beach House have  deep vocals and a female playing keyboards and they're a duo just gives off more comparisons. This tracks extremely poppy and it's chorus is typical British radio styled. If this was released as a single and had major advertising behind it, then it would reach the top 10 in the UK.

The back half isn't as heart warming as the opening few tracks. 'Robin' doesn't exactly give me anything to compliment other than the little guitar solo heard towards the end, but in general it just sounds like.. and I'm going to say it... Filler. 'High Road' is far more noticeable than Robin. It has a brilliant keyboard and guitar riff which works with the simplistic drumming and vocals which lower in pitch as the the instrumentation follows in a similar patter. 

'Dreaming' has some little guitar hooks and 60's-esque soulful vocals which Alaina has clearly been influenced by here. The earlier tracks showcased the bands ability to use dynamics well and create clear segments musically, Dreaming just doesn't have any of this and it passes through with the exact same instrumentation as some of the earlier tracks, but with poor composition. Then we hear the Phil Spector-esque 'Take Me To Heaven'. Alaina sings about what it will be like when she's old and it's a look back over the last year of touring and what her future holds, clearly. The track has some great drumming and exciting piano work but the guitar sound is just something which is beginning to bug me because it's never ending and similar between tracks. 

The final track is the best track in my opinion. it has this soothing 'oooooooo' sound after the few opening time signatures which I guessed completely accurate with the same vocal range, so I impressed myself by guessing that on my first listen. Continuous listens will show great organ sounds and a vintage vision of the seaside which I see. I see Tennis as being a relationship friendly version of Best Coast. 

They gave matured in terms of sound. The lyrics are less story based but keep me interested because the theme is simply interesting. I can fully appreciate the duo's vision of becoming 'famous' and successfully as musicians rather than in their chosen professional field which they were set to live out. This albums definitely an improvement, It's just predictable. The organ sounds are nice to hear but not in every single track and on the left side every time. I think they will be making music like this for years to come and I won't be excited when they announce their third album if they follow the same direction.


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