We Can Die Happy
A band that has always found something new to say in old sounds, Tennis comes out with something even fresher on their latest EP. Coming on the heels of their latest LP Yours Conditionally, they offer up even more great tracks that run wild with catchy riffs. What makes this EP stand out however is the new ground they break as the band moves into more dance music and some modern pop refurbishing for an EP that has hopes high for this band yet.
Taking a groovy swing to its rhythm section, “No Exit” opens the album with a luscious dance hook before a word is even sung. Subduing its bass at first, each chorus lets it burst through in a frantic and exciting rush of energy. Alaina’s vocals soar with perfect pop energy and a creamy quality that makes it even more satisfying. The subtle production to really add some dark energy to the keys on this track give a more modern edge to their usually more vintage sounds, making for a track that really takes advantage of its tools.
“Born To Be Needed” rides on its bright piano hook, as its bouncy keys make each vocal line seem like a natural evolution of the melodies. Cutting things back in the pre-chorus, there’s a wonderful sense of tension as Alaina’s vocals gain more ethereal qualities to make the harmonic choruses all the more full. Easy to get into, the track doesn’t serve up much new to set the band apart from their classic inspiration. This said, the guitar work that takes this song out is sublime and offers up one of the song’s most memorable moments.
With melodies that spiral endlessly in true Tennis fashion, “I Miss That Feeling” is an endless mix of hooks that intertwine for a lush mix. The little guitar licks that play off of Alaina’s own vocals are continuously invigorating, especially as they evolve in interesting ways throughout the verses. The brooding tones of the bridge, finds the vocals exploring through heavy echo before one last big chorus takes the song out in a more predictable fashion. All things considered however, the piano finale is a nice touch.
“Diamond Rings” is a new sonic footing for the band, recalling tones of the Preatures with the more staccato delivery and uniquely affected vocals. While this would’ve been wildly out of place on their last record, the promise of the experimentation and frantic riff writing really has their next album look amazing. Getting their bass sound chocolaty and building catchy vocal hooks on the otherwise cold tones of the production, the song has an immediate tone to its energy that makes each chorus all the more needed and powerful.
Closing slowly and through looping keyboard lines on “Building God” the record ends with a dreamy wash of synth organs. While the beats may be more lulling than engaging at times, the siren like quality of Alaina’s voice is undeniable on this track, as her lower end channels Stevie Nicks throughout the verses. Adding a dash of Beach House in their guitar tone on this track, each chorus is a goose bump delivering drop that makes the fluttering vocals all the more beautiful.
Words by Owen Maxwell