Let’s talk about Tennis! Not the racket sports, but a band, which is named exactly the same way. Quite an optimistic approach in the world of search engines and key words, ain’t it? Nonetheless, this band made it – and several songs already have more than ten million Spotify streams each. Time to have a listen to their tunes – here is my review of Pollen, their 2023 album, which has been released on 10th February 2023.
Tennis – About The Artists
Tennis is an indie-pop duo, which is also influenced by surf pop and dream pop elements. The two band members are Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley. They met at a philosophy class at the University of Colorado in Denver in 2008 and do music together. Nowadays they are also married. While touring, they are supported by Steve Voss (drums) and Ryan Tullock (bass). Their first album was Cape Dory in January 2011. In the meantime, they released four more albums, so that Pollen is their sixth one, on top of two EPs. Their most successful single releases have been Origins and In The Morning I’ll Be Better – both songs have more than 20 million listens on Spotify.
Tennis – Pollen – Track by Track
The ten song album lasts 36 minutes.
1. Forbidden Doors
Alaina Moore’s high voice is the defining element of Forbidden Doors. The song has a nice rhythm and groove. The dream pop touch which I mentioned in the introduction is almost undeniable in here. More than that, the song is really a great touch. Fragile and thoughtful, but also very rhythmic elements. Nice blending.
Glorietta comes with a very different sound. Alaina’s voice is significantly deeper, the key instrument is the strumming guitar. The song rather feels like a folk-pop recording.
3. Let’s Make A Mistake Tonight
The third song again has some very rhythmic sections, which even have a decent 1980’s disco quality. Also due to the nice keyboard / synth work, the song stays in your mind. Good one, indeed.
4. One Night With The Valet
One Night With The Valet is a bit of remarkable, as it is featured in a music video, despite the song is the shortest on the album. Tennis don’t even allow the listener to enjoy two minutes in here. The darker vocal parts remind me of Madonna songs in the 1990’s.
5. Pollen Song
In an album called Pollen, there should be a Pollen Song, shouldn’t there? The song nicely connects to the tracks before. Strumming guitars, mostly high vocals by the female lead on the microphone and a nice sense for a touching rhythm and good vibes on the melodic side. Pop music just as it should be: entertaining and making you smile while listening.
6. Hotel Valet
Hotel Valet is a bit of a slower track. Not yet a ballad, but definitely more on the dream pop side. The second part of the song also has some lounge music vibes. Nice, laid back recording.
While the backing melody of Paper clearly continues with the lounge music vibe of the predecessor, other elements give this song a much more complex appearance. Most of all, there is a great addition of flute tunes. On top of that, of course, there are Alaina Moore’s vocals, which are in the falsetto range on the seventh song again.
8. Until Gibraltar
I see Gibraltar, I can never hurt you are the first lines of the chorus of this one. A song which is working well, but overall, I am longing for some new elements in this album. Let’s see what the last two songs happen to have in stock.
9. Never Been Wrong
The second last song indeed has a bit of a different touch. Never Been Wrong feels rather rocking, due to the intense use of the guitar.
10. Pillow For A Cloud
Pillow For A Cloud closes the set of ten songs. Initially, it rather feels rather neat and quiet, but the song is gaining more and more atmosphere. Good chucker-out.
Tennis – Pollen – Spotify
Here is Pollen on Spotify:
Tennis – Pollen – My View
I am not fully convinced of Pollen. It feels to me that the duo is working too often with the same or too similar elements. This leads to a rather monotonous listen. Bad luck, as their album is also underlining a lot of talent and potential. Tennis fans will love it, I am sure – they just get the style they love.
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