Cape Dory Cape Dory

Álbumes

Tennis TennisCape Dory

8 / 10

FAT POSSUM

At Fat Possum they couldn’t have started off the year in a better way, releasing the fabulous “Dye It Blonde” by Smith Westerns, and this marvellous “Cape Dory”. The story of how its authors, Tennis, came up with it is so idyllic that it seems unreal, a made-up story. It’s so enviable that it invites one to write objectively about how the debut was forged and to let its virtues reveal themselves on their own, touched by that magic wand that seems to have blessed the whole project. The best thing about Tennis is that they get you to believe again that dreams can come true, at least the American dream. Things couldn’t have turned out better for the couple Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley. They met while they were studying Philosophy, and they swore that when they graduated, they would leave it all behind, buy a sailboat and sail along the Eastern Coast of the United States. This had always been Patrick’s dream, and when they finished their degrees, they did it. At that time, the beginning of 2009, the couple were already flirting with music, but they decided to set it aside—they would come back to it—they sold their instruments to make money and to give priority to their odyssey. They learned to sail from DVD’s and the book “The Annapolis Book of Seamanship” practically without having any idea about navigation, and, inspired by a famous couple who had done the same thing, Lin and Larry Pardey, they set off on the adventure of their lives.

On their travels, Patrick and Alaina stopped at several ports, from the Bahamas to Baltimore. At one of them, they heard “Baby It’s You”, which Bacharach composed for the Shirelles, and they started writing the next dream to be fulfilled on their map: to write an album reinterpreting the 60’s wall of sound in their own way. Once they were back on land, they sat down with the songs to “process the trip” and, in a way, to put a soundtrack to the blog on which they were narrating all of their seafaring trials and tribulations. The songs started taking on the name of the ports, like postcards sent from there, and the name of the sailboat ended up becoming the name of the album, as if it were a child that they had had after eight months of travelling. They assure us that they composed the songs without letting themselves be contaminated by other music, taking advantage of the aura of creativity and freshness that they bathed in during the time they were isolated. They also claim that in theory, they weren’t planning to release them. Whether you believe them or not is up to you. But they finally decided to release the album, and things couldn’t have turned out better because, beyond the idyllic part of the story, Tennis’ proposal arrives at a moment dominated by anything that has the remotest air of 60’s lo-fi. If on top of that, it has a surf influence and that of the girl-band sound, triumph is practically guaranteed. Camera Obscura, Summer Camp, She & Him, Best Coast and even The Drums know this very well, all of them bands that come to mind when you’re thinking of vacations at sea.

The lovely songs on their EP from last year, “Marathon”, got everybody talking about them. Here they are completed by six new songs, and everything unfolds calmly, airing the metaphor of the trip, which always works so well. “Cape Dory” oozes happiness and nostalgia, but without ever falling into the affected melancholy of “any past time was better”. The unbeatable advance single, “Take Me Somewhere”, casts off. The “sha la la” of “Cape Dory”, the song, conquers like the siren songs in “The Odyssey”. When they reach “Bimini Bay”, Alaina and Patrick have been on the high sea so long that when they start to think back to figure out when they left, they realise that they don’t even remember where they are. The solution is in “South Carolina”, a postcard of love to their land, Denver, and is sort of the climax of the album, where they decipher the key to their whole story: the important thing is to look ahead. They always handle the rudder with a firm hand, and they manage to give the repertoire a particularly nice stamp thanks to another excellent choice: that sort of frost in the production that sounds stuck to the songs, and which melts over the course of the album until reaching “Waterbirds”. Along the way, 28 minutes of a gentle breeze on the way to the horizon, during which time your lips don’t get chapped: instead of salt air, what hits you in the face is an irresistible pop sugar.

Cristian Rodríguez

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