Keep calm and write music
Ten years after forming, the band Tennis released their fifth album Swimmer. After the husband-wife duo found their first glimpse of commercial success with their album Yours Conditionally, the pair endured what would be a difficult year. According to lead singer Alaina Moore, it was while spreading band member Patrick Riley’s father’s ashes at sea Moore decided to name the album Swimmer. Though it is a record based on a time of hardship, the album is by no means one of despair, but the tightening of a bond.
For an album with such a sad backstory, it truly is a rather upbeat collection of songs. The reflection and time the pair has put into every song and lyric shows through. Moore’s voice is pure, timeless, and at times babyish. Nonetheless, she delivers a flawless vocal performance on each track. Her singing paired with vintage filtering and 80s style instrumentals makes for a retro sound for the modern ear.
The album’s title track “Swimmer” is the story of the spreading of the father’s ashes. “Some summer you have planned for me/ emptied into the sea.” The beachy vibe of the guitar in this song mixed with Moore’s angelic vocals gives the song a beachy vibe. They have allowed their audience to be there and experience this monumental day right alongside them by illustrating that scene through their music.
While Tennis has a very distinct sound both musically and vocally, there are no two songs that sound the same, making their music exciting and anything but boring. A great example of this is the track “Need Your Love.” Full of anger at the world and surroundings, the song feels like manic rage after letting something boil up for a little too long. The song’s refrain is slower, more laid back than the verses. This constant change in tempo and style keeps listeners on their toes until Moore can catch her breath and go back to ranting.
I’m sure after finally achieving a glimpse of success, Tennis was not expecting to cut the celebration short. Even through life’s many curveballs, the duo has proved their unbreakable resiliency, and in the process, has given us what might be the best indie album of 2020.