Album Review: Tennis – Yours Conditionally

‘Yours Conditionally’ the new album from Tennis was ceremonially launched from the jetty of their own label, ‘Mutually Detrimental’ on the 10th March. This finest of Riviera deserts is made up of ten tracks that are like dollops of whipped ice cream, dazzled in crystal sugar, lathered in unctuous sauce and flaked in nearly the finest, crumbliest, chocolate. Reader prepare yourself now for further icky naval puns, as there are more afloat!

Tennis are the husband and wife duo of Alaina and Patrick. Their debut ‘Cape Dory’ made waves as it breached the rocky shores of popular recognition back in 2010. Thematically the album was a record that centred on the couples escape from their home in America’s Denver. Setting sail as they swapped their landlocked lives, Tennis embarked on an adventure upon the Atlantic Ocean. ‘Cape Dory’ was heralded for it qualities as a musical travelogue and received both popular and critical acclaim from across the seven seas. Having toured with Haim, given performances for and made fans of names such as Leno and Letterman and appearing at several of David Lynch’s curated shows the band returned to the high seas to write this new record.

Critics say that the duo having partially written ‘Yours Conditionally’ whilst sailing at sea plots the band at point of maturation, offering a salute, a bow, a fond look to their past. Whilst also sternly facing a contemporaneous uncertainty, a confusion, afore the horizon of their future. This time around Alaina Moore’s lyrical compositions convey her commitment to addressing such topics as female identity and gender politics.  Generally, the partners have dug a little deeper than their more recent glossy-pop. Breaking the surf and submerging to a marginally darker undercurrent. Layers of murkier themes are at play wedding discussions of identity and self-sacrifice to some of their most pristine and infectious hooks yet.

I say ‘Yours Conditionally’ is a vintage yacht-pop voyage that circumnavigates, in a musical return via nautical routes to the bands origins and follows a course that sees the band having refined their sound. Yet even drawn into the spin of this whirlpool they remain to be the producers of very much the danceable, soulful lissom pop, sixties girl group melodies and lilting seventies instrumentation they’ve grounded a reputation on.

Climb aboard with the surf shuffle alt-country of ‘In the Morning I’ll Be Better’. Slip on sunglasses, shimmering to ‘My Emotions Are Blinding’ set sail upon the ‘Fields of Blue’ and float on a Rhubarb and Custard theme tune fuzz distorted lead solo in ‘ladies Don’t Play Guitar’. Momentarily dip into the lover’s rock pool of ‘Marriage’ with its haunting Hammond organ. ‘Baby Don’t Believe’ that Alaina has invoked ‘Like a Virgin’ era Madonna as the tropical breeze of ‘Please Don’t Ruin This For Me’ casts us away and ’10 minutes [become] 10 years’ giving time for a ‘Modern Woman’ to drift in reminiscence then land safely, if a little salty, upon the shore to the welcoming tune of ‘Island Music’.

Quite a holiday.

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