Underground duo Tennis destroys expectations

‘Yours Unconditionally’ is a perfect harmony of sweet ballads and guitar hymns


Photo by Kira Garlick

Released March 10th, ‘Yours Unconditionally’ is Tennis’ fourth studio album.

By Claire Torii

Tennis? You mean the sport? How do you listen to a sport? Do they double-fault?

Most haven’t heard of the native Coloradans married duo Tennis, comprised of Alaina Moore, the curly haired subject of all five of their album covers and the lead singer, and Patrick Riley, the captivating guitar player in the background of every song.

If you frequently listen to Spotify’s Ultimate Indie playlist, or you simply let your Top 50 Indie Radio ride out, there is a fair chance that you have heard one of their songs, but have not bothered to look more into the band. But no fear, because that is what I’m here for, to tell you if their latest album, “Yours Unconditionally,” is worth the listen.

I personally am not an indie fan at all. It’s not personal. It’s just that I prefer the fast-paced beats of someone’s story found in rap and R&B than the slow-dance tunes filled with metaphors and mumbling. However, their song “Traveling” fell through a loophole when one of my friends made a playlist of all our favorite summer listens (and slipped in this song).

Most who have listened to this obscure band, have listened to songs from their 2012 album “Young and Old.” My personal favorite tracks being “Traveling” and “Partition” which include electric guitar, tambourine and the purposely distant recorded voice of Alaina.

With “Yours Unconditionally,” it is obvious that the band has matured from their songs of sweet summer love, and attempt to move on to music that simply sound more grown with titles like “In the Morning I’ll Be Better” and “10 minutes 10 years.”

Instantly, going into “In the Morning I’ll Be Better,” you are hit with a dream-like chorus and the echoed voice of Alaina. The only voice I can compare it to is someone you probably know nothing of; Joni Mitchell. Like Joni Mitchell, Tennis uses a blend of guitar acoustics and vocals that make you feel like you are on a road trip and someone is recording it all with a film camera.

Strangely, with the common voice, the aura of the songs frequently switch from Madonna’s prime years in “Ladies Don’t Play the Guitar,” Lana Del Rey’s prodigy in “Matrimony,” and subtle Elvis Presley tones in “Island Music”.”

I have to admit, during the first listen, I was slightly bored. The average length of the songs were about three minutes, but the repeated chords and chorus made it seem like more. It outright sounded like background music, but maybe that was done on purpose.

The second and third time around, the calming tunes and dreamy lyrics made the songs sound more meaningful, and it came to the point where I had to remind myself that I was not at a beach and I was not going to a luau anytime soon.

Although this might take more than one listen to catch on, “Yours Unconditionally” will hold you into a trance, and you will never be able to look back. Don’t worry though, I’m not moving to Portland anytime soon or anything.