Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley's group, Tennis, is a band that lives in a world of escapism, of doing exactly what these two lovebirds did before they wrote their debut album =- just cut ties and see what they could see, experience what it might be like to just float all day without much direction or agenda, to just be gone, but still be together. The song "Marathon," from that record, got out into the world and immediately caught fire, shining with anthemic good vibrations and the kinds of ooos and ahhhs of harmony that produce involuntary smiling in nearly everyone who hears them. It's a song so pleasing that descriptions do it less good than descriptions usually do pieces of music.
But everything else that Tennis has written backs up the sentiments and the aesthetic of that song - all of them making you want to just clean house and start over, as it sounds so refreshing to begin anew and be where Moore and Riley are, doing what they're doing. Tennis makes you want to reach out for your baby, bring them tight into your arms and just riddle them with kisses and snuggles. It's not that the music is all that cute or sentimental, it's just that you get so smitten and you find that there's some completeness that you're seeking and maybe you already have that, maybe you need to stop looking so hard. That man or that woman that's holding your hand and rubbing your shoulders at the end of a day of toil and frustration, might be the only thing that you ever need next to you, to make you feel so fulfilled. They create this feeling over and over again, setting the scene for an intoxicating sunrise and all that might follow should the moment be taken in with the right people or person.
Moore and Riley make us suckers for the easy life, for thinking that it might be ripe for the pickin.' They toss us the lines and make us feel alive with the electricity of deep, set-in love, the kind that some think you can only get to after decades and decades, but right here, they've done it. They've written songs that feel like the tender care that you use when tucking a blanket over a loved one who's fallen asleep on the couch, late at night, with the television on. You look at that person, slumbering peacefully, and you believe with great conviction, that everything is wonderful.
*Essay originally published in September, 2010
Tennis Official Site
Fat Possum Records