During the summer months, we've all taken off to find that elusive something. Some of us collect trinkets, others snaps – and some record an album.
When “Tennis”, husband and wife team Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, got bored of their 9 – 5, they saved up for a sail boat and embarked on an eight month voyage royale along the Atlantic coastline. Mighty fun it seems to have been too, for during their journey they were inspired to write, and later record, ten songs documenting their nautical adventures. Yet as fun as it is, I ask myself if a run-in with pirates might've added a little… hmm – kick.
Opening with “Take Me Somewhere”, Tennis's debut album “Cape Dory”, welcomes in the listener with a wave of “woos.” Alaina's sugary vocal soon rides the wave, to be met by a gentle xylophone – and a dreamy affair is born. An affair that continues throughout the album, with one track serenely blending into the next. “Take me out baby, I wanna go sail tonight,” she sings in the title track, “Cape Dory”. We're taking it easy on the seas tonight.
As I listen to Cape Dory I begin to develop an image of Patrick and Alaina playing tennis on the beck of their boat, or off-shore in some secret cove wearing matching pullovers, socks and racquets. If I close my eyes and sigh I can almost feel myself bobbing on the Atlantic. Their sound is better than any photo or trinket for it perfectly captures the carefree life. If you've had a hard day, or want to lying back on the beach, or simply add a tropical flavour to your BBQ, then this is the album.
Moving through the songs, each coming in at an easily digestible three minutes, one begins to merge with the other. The overriding feeling of swaying soon takes over. Playing in any sunny garden, it would immediately dissolve into the scenery, unobtrusive and soothing, yet take it away and its absence would be noticed, like the absence of a breeze on a sweltering day.
Each song tells a gentle tale and carries you deeper into Patrick and Alaina's sunny world, filled with echoing vocals and fiftiesesque surf sounds. And it does the trick. I can feel the salt in my lungs, but part of me wants a little danger too. Was it all such easy going?
In the catchy “Marathon” Alaina sings to clicking fingers, “We didn't realise that we had arrived at high-tide, high-tide, barely made it out alive.” It's sweet and melodic, and again I'm drifting. Maybe I don't really need any pirates storming the boat, looting and pillaging. There enough angst in the world already. Maybe I can relax.
Cape Dory offers a solid selection of pure pop. While predominantly up-tempo, the very danceable “South Carolina” being a particular favourite, there are many waltzes in the mix too. “Bimini Bay” conjures images of blue seas and grass skirts, while the closing track “Waterbirds” soothes the listener. Reassuringly Alaina sings, “Sleeping deep in the bush, the night brings the hush” before she turns, asking “How can you resist me?” There is a deep passion at the heart of this album, one born by the desire to escape the trappings of modernity and be free.
Tennis offer us a sweet serving of Atlantic escapism, one they plan to tour the summer festival circuit. Their music strips away the worries of the day and allows the listener to give up the fight, to chill out, and as they did, live for the day. For this is all we have, and in their journey through the Atlantic they saw it. Carpe diem! Maybe we all should get a boat.
(Released May 19th on Carmen San Diego Records)