Denver husband/wife duo Tennis (Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore) generated considerable internet buzz throughout 2010 on the strength of a handful of excellent short form releases – a 2-song single for Firetalk, a 3-song 7” for Underwater Peoples featuring one of my favorite songs of last year in “Marathon”, a found-footage video for “South Carolina”, a Daytrotter session, and live video sessions for Yours Truly and The Wild Honey Pie. The much deserved attention allowed the band to sign with Fat Possum and record their full length debut, Cape Dory, which will be released this week. Comprised entirely of songs inspired by a 7-month sailboat voyage along the Atlantic Coast, Cape Dory fulfills the band’s early promise and then some. The consistent quality of the songs, bright ringing guitars, and Moore’s dreamy saltwater vocals give the album plenty of allure, but it’s the nautical theme that really cements Cape Dory’s personality.
The record features 10 charmingly seasick indie/pop songs about devotion, solitude, escape, and the intimacy that comes from having someone with whom to share such a sustained adventure. Previously released gems “Marathon”, “South Carolina”, and the title track have been polished up for the LP, still sounding great despite missing some of their earlier ramshackle energy. New songs like “Long Boat Pass”, “Seafarer”, and “Pigeon” only strengthen the album’s maritime feel while showing the band has a deep supply of supple melodies at the ready. Cape Dory touches on a number of influences that have been common in the modern indie-rock landscape for years – girl group pop, surf, garage, Brian Wilson, etc. The production isn’t so much lo-fi as it is low maintenance. In these regards this album is not going to win any prizes as the year’s most original recording. What Moore and Riley do though is give the world ten perfectly executed old-fashioned love songs, both of the sea and of another human being, born from the affection found in their very antiquated seafaring experience. It’s all there in the closing lines of “South Carolina” – Like a family in a private country, you and me in simplicity. Better have your Dramamine ready.
MP3 :: Take Me Somewhere
(from Cape Dory. Buy here)