We all love the beach, don’t we? If you don’t, you can just go ahead and disregard this album completely and go on listening to your molten-earth heavy metal or whatever it is you listen to NOT at the beach. For the rest of you beach lovers, I have something special. A treat, if you will! It’s called Cape Dory and it’s the wonderful debut album from music duo and sailing enthusiasts, Tennis.
If you’re not already familiar with Tennis, let me fill you in. Married couple Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore bought a sailboat and left Denver on an eight-month voyage along the northern Atlantic coastline. Along the way, the two, who both have experience in small music projects, wrote a few songs that soon took the indie world by storm. After releasing a couple 7″ records, the duo signed with Fat Possum and have now released their debut full-length album–just half a year after they burst onto the scene in the first place.
The question of the hour was, of course, whether or not Cape Dory would live up to everybody’s well-hyped expectations. Upon the first listen, that question seems silly. How could it not? Tennis has taken their lo-fi beach pop sound across ten short tracks, each topped with confessions of love, scenes on the sea and optimistic good times for all. Their back story only adds to the credibility of their songs–you know these two are genuine. Coupled with their minimalist sound, lyrics and music create a sense that no matter what ails you, love and beaches are always on the horizon.
Cape Dory, however, has a weak spot within its biggest strength. Although Tennis’ song writing is unique and, above all else, completely wonderful, it’s about all they have. The two know how to make great songs, but working within the larger medium of the full-length album seems a little over their heads at this point. But that’s to be expected. Their first single was released earlier this past summer and nearly every song they put out since was a smash hit. The wisest move was to record a few more tracks, throw everything on a record and look to the future.
It doesn’t even matter that as an album, Cape Dory isn’t as coherent or well-built as it could be. The strength of the songs makes up for all that. What matters most is Tennis’ future potential. If their debut reveals anything it’s that the couple has found a fantastic niche to work within. And if you don’t like that niche you can just go back to the dark, brooding mountains or wherever it is you like to go.