Tennis Takes Listeners on an Ocean Cruise With ‘Cape Dory’


Cape Dory


Release Date: Jan 18, 11

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If you weren’t able to take a vacation this holiday season, Denver natives Tennis will gladly bring you along on their ocean journeys with their new album Cape Dory.

Right from the beginning, Tennis wants you to know that their music is their story. Husband-and-wife outfit Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore write their tunes based on a seven-month sailing trip they took after graduating college. They left behind their lives and possessions with the idea that such a trip would bring them closer as lovers as well as teach them about living in sync with the environment. With hooks and harmonies galore, Cape Dory will wash listeners away from reality and into Tennis’ world.

One notable feature of the album is its eagerness to share the duo’s new challenges and experiences at sea. In “Marathon,” they decide to sail at night for the first time, and to say the least, they “barely made it out alive” as the pair battle high tide and darkness on the way to their destination. Cape Dory seems to have a strong adventurous feel to it, as the lyrics talk of all the different places they traveled to along the east coast, dipping as far south as South Carolina.

However, the most striking points for listeners are often when the couple is exploring the nature of their love. A high point of the album occurs when Riley sings of the couple’s devotion to each other in “Pigeon.” She ends the song emphatically, “I will be there, I promise to take care of you.” A simple statement indeed, but simplicity is really the essence of the album. Tennis is not out to write complex lyrics, but rather to share their journey together and the personal revelations discovered therein. As Moore promises to take care of Riley both at sea and in life, one understands the kind of trust the two were able to build over those seven months and the beauty of such a relationship.

The simple lyrics mesh perfectly with the sublime chord progressions of Riley’s guitar, because in a similar fashion, he is not going for complexity. His stripped-down sound makes songs like “South Carolina” really float, especially in the instrumental section. Similarly, catchy guitar licks like the ones sprinkled throughout “Long Boat Pass” help add to the generally friendly and fun sound that the band is trying to create.

But if lyrical and musical modesty are what make Cape Dory so great, they should equally make listeners aware of the possibility that future releases may not compare. Since Cape Dory was based off a real journey of self-discovery for this couple, the fear arises that the next album will have to be based on something less real. Only time will tell whether Tennis is a one-hit wonder, but for now, indie fans can safely latch onto this band’s appealing sounds and adventurous spirit.

  • Bpreis

    After reading this review, I could really use the “journey” of listening to Cape Dory to help me forget Chicago weather for even a short time. Excellent read, looking forward to an equally excellent listen!

  • Sandra Pesmen

    You made me think about these young adventurers and I’m hopeful they will find something equally exciting to do next. They have great spirit — and music in their heads and hearts. Nice review .