February 9, 2012
Cuyler Mortimore

The wife and husband duo of Alaina Moore (keyboards, vocals) and Patrick Riley (guitar) form two-thirds of the Denver-based group, Tennis. The addition of James Barone providing infectious drum beats rounds out a unique-sounding Denver band. The whole album, Young & Old, out in February, sounds about as close as to pure happiness as you can get.

“It All Feels The Same” opens the album with subdued vocals and guitar, immediately leaping into a joyful sprint through a meadow - metaphorically speaking. The entire album feels blatantly nostalgic with the kind of poppy drumming common to doo-wop bands of the 50s and 60s, and the low distortion but high reverb common to surf rock and rockabilly groups. “Travelling” has an addictive drum beat, with Barone injecting some edge, making the drums themselves sound distorted.  “Origins” especially underscores this nostalgic feel with the consistent high pitched piano keys pounding at a steady 4/4 while simultaneously boasting one of the best biting guitar sections of the entire album. It’s nostalgic, but not recklessly so; Tennis is not one to copy.

“Dreaming” jumps right at you, breaking the standard four-beat structure with a waltz. This thematically helps reinforce the idea of a dream, a departure from reality. The album finishes strong with “Never to Part,” a driving drum and organ ballad that gives the album the satisfying sense of riding off into the sunset. The song name itself sends the message that the band isn’t done yet. Given the short wait between their first two albums, I believe it.

The whole album has a refreshing joyful tone that makes sitting still impossible. It rides the line between indie and doo-wop: a short, fast, quality experience. Young & Old is due February 14th, and the band plays the Bluebird just two days later. Check ‘em out.

Hear Tennis' OpenAir Studio Session and interview on OpenAir February 14th, 8:30AM MST.