tennis // young & old
by tyler urish
Back when “Origins,” Tennis’ first single from Young & Old, was released in November last year, a certain buzz was created from its somewhat new overall sound from the band. It featured less of that nautical 60s lo-fi sound from their first album Cape Dory and more of a fierce, piano-heavy pop song featuring a catchy chorus and whoa-oa’s; something that seems a little different from what they’re known for, but still compliments their sound well. The Denver husband-and-wife duo had help by one part of The Black Keys, Patrick Carney, as a producer for the new album. Things seemed to look good for the band ready to infuse the indie scene with a more progressive album for their sophomore effort. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many songs that really differs from each other after that.
“My Better Self” seems to be the only other really well designed song on this album, but that might only be because it’s the first song you listen to before the homogeneity that plagues the rest of the album kicks in. “Traveling” and “Petition” are both mediocre songs and the rest of the album seems to stick to the same repetitious sound throughout. “Origins” is the best song out of the group with a really bombastic sound and fantastic vocal performance. The song sets the bar high for the rest of the album and unsuccessfully does nothing but fall short. The first song title “It All Feels The Same” oddly enough sums up this album. The majority of the songs don’t have anything to them other than the fact that they are catchy but still all around dull. Tennis as a whole never seemed to make a big enough imprint in the indie scene, seemingly pandering to the indie pop crowd and nothing more.
Tennis has all the right things going for it (a great singer, decent songwriting), and yet it somehow still manages to fall flat somehow. Cape Dory wasn’t the best album to come out of 2011, but it had passion behind it and a distinct vibe they were going after that just isn’t here in this album. They toned down the ridiculous surf-pop sound from the first album, which was a step in the right direction, but if you’re going to just make mediocre pop music, why change? Should we worry more about the spirit of the music or the sound? Whatever the case, we sure are going to have some catchy music to sell sedans and other must-have suburban items this year.
favorite tracks: “origins,” “my better self”
Listen to Young & Old now, via Spotify.