Schubas; Fri 10
Don’t judge Tennis by the cover of Cape Dory. Redheaded singer Alaina Moore, half of the husband-and-wife twosome, lounges in a lace body stocking, one hand brushing through her tossed curls. The image is an homage to an obscure 1979 LP by soap actor Lisa Hartman, a disco-era album purchased by a handful of aerobics instructors.
No, this Denver duo digs further back than the trendy sounds of cheap keyboards and cheesy synthetic pop. Patrick Riley’s simple, twanging electric-guitar strumming, the bashing tambourines, the humming organ and Moore’s gentle, trilling voice all echo early rock & roll, easy doo-wop harmonies and beehived girl idols. Dory (due out mid-January) most often recalls a hybrid of the Walkmen’s reverb-rich minimalism and the adorable bop of the Cardigans, uncannily on “Seafarer” and “Water Birds.”
As those titles hint, Tennis’s debut record chronicles a sailing voyage the couple took along Florida and the Atlantic Coast. “I left my home and friends behind,” Moore sighs before dropping anchor in “Bimini Bay,” “South Carolina” and “Baltimore.” Before you go thinking this is some conceptual tale, rife with Melvillian nautical details, know that it’s mostly a love story. Moore bats her eyelashes at her hubby, the surf and the stars, coloring in the romance with moments of tide miscalculations and cove exploration.
Those real-life anecdotes lend some weight and authenticity to Tennis’s cute fluff. The only question is where they’re heading for album two.