Tennis - Cape Dory
The most unhip band to make indie waves these past few years, Tennis is a Colorado husband-and-wife team whose debut album reminisces about spending a year sailing along the Eastern Seaboard. The theme is pervasive — songs like the woozily romantic "Waterbirds" and the haltingly yearning "Take Me Somewhere" track the couple's voyage from fantasy to fruition — and the storytelling appealingly fragmented, suggesting a comically bourgeois variation on Chuck Berry's dramatic "Let It Rock."
The backdrop of WASP privilege may keep Tennis' songs from sticking at times, despite the pair's impressive melodies and Alaina Moore's instantly appealing Belinda Carlisle-like vocals. However, it's a relief to hear such precision applied to '60s AM pop, in contrast to the fussiness of Camera Obscura and She & Him. Some will find it generic, but the secret is that Cape Dory is less about an exotic adventure than its lingering memory; anyone who's traveled will recognize the hazy hangover captured here, and the knowingly personal tracking of an evolving relationship suggests a wisdom that could serve Tennis well long after they've forgotten about their sailboat.