Released on February 14th 2011 on ATP Recordings
Reviewed by Francesca Baker
‘How tennis racquets evolved from the earliest pre-racquets through the long wooden era.’ That’s the first thing you find when googling tennis and origins. Dull. Thankfully, the new album from Tennis, Young & Old, sounds more like the pleasant side of tennis, a swoonsome and winsome summers day rather than solid and thwacky sport. (Is that an adjective? It is now.)
More of a slow burn in its simmering charm that previous seaside inspired sugary Cape Dory, it still captures the sweetness and melodic kernal that is at the heart of the bands music, and results in absolute winners of songs such as It All Feels The Same and title track Origins. One of the reasons for Tennis’ success is that they sound like an advert looks, working to imbue you with hope and delusion of a perfect life – if this is what married life writing upon a boat sounds like and feels like, I don’t know what people complain about.
Closer inspection reveals it’s not all rose tinted as it sounds, with lyrics such as ‘a life of middling at best’ on High Road and ‘we could be good but we don’t live the way that we should’ on It All Feels The Same hidden in amongst the happy shopper sounds, and although the overwhelming aura is ephemeral and breezy, there are moments where Alaina’s fragile voice flips into powerful 50s girl group pop style, which when mixed up with bluesy guitar work and vibrato rhythms really elevate this sophomore from its predecessor.
However, after a few listens it all starts to merge into one another, and I’m left unable to differentiate one track from another. It feels a bit like the feeling after one too many gin’n’tonics. Like said state, this isn’t an altogether unpleasant one, rather one of dreamy sweetness, but does mean that Origins runs the risk of becoming background music. Keeping it for an occasional treat so it maintains its cool charm seems to be the trick, and if you can ration your doses, this is a perfect jolt of sunshine for this gloomy time of year.