Tennis Review: Young & Old
Young & Old
Yesterday, Wes discussed the duo of indie rockers Sleigh Bells releasing their sophomore album, Reign of Terror. Well, last Tuesday (notable for being Valentine’s Day) another indie duo and a married couple, known as Tennis, also released their own sophomore effort, Young & Old. The lo-fi somewhat-surf-rockers did well last year, releasing their debut album Cape Dory on the notably awesome indie label Fat Possum Records. The album was subtle, but great, and received fairly positive reviews, but was still a bit underrated IMHO. Something tells me that this album on the whole will be received in a fairly similar fashion.
The biggest move the humble young couple made with their follow up, was acquiring the help of Patrick Carney of The Black Keys to produce the album. Although this didn’t provide an incredibly drastic difference, there are a few noticeable changes in the band’s sound and vibe. The fuzzy, lo-fi surf-rock sound is still there, but it picked up some organ keys, that at times sounds hauntingly old and creepy, and others sounds bright and poppy. Poppy is definitely a word I would also use to describe the overall vibe of Young & Old. The pop had always existed in Tennis, but it was darker and much more subtle, which made it harder to notice you bobbing your head up and down to the tune. Young & Old brightens up to the point that you’re entire body will be bouncing at times. Some tracks like “Petition” and “Robin” even remind me of soul sounds from the 70‘s.
^Like the title suggests, it’s a bit of the “Young Tennis” mixed with some of the “Old Tennis”
Overall, I think Patrick’s goal was to make this album a little bit more fun than the first. In terms of The Black Keys, it would be the equivalent of jumping from The Big Come Up to El Camino in one step. That is a bit over-exaggerated, but the point is that the intelligence and sincerity of the music is still all there, it is just a much more user friendly version of the same band. Also like El Camino, some people will love this result, and others will loathe it.
I for one, enjoy Young & Old a great deal. I think it shows an immediate, yet subtle versatility within the band. You may not notice it at first, but after you listen to the album, revisit Cape Dory, then go back to Young & Old, it will smack you in the face. I love my lo-fidelity as much as the next guy (as long as that guy isn’t Elliott Smith, he probably has me beat), but I also love my fun vibes and pop tunes. What I found especially interesting, is that the two bonus tracks (“Deep In the Woods” and “Vegas”) that were included with my version of the album, probably stray the furthest from any songs on Cape Dory, and are possibly more accessible than any tracks on Young & Old, yet somehow didn’t make the album. They are especially intriguing tunes and probably would have only boasted the album’s credibility. I wonder if that was their attempt to keep this album closer to Cape Dory’s pace, but also show fans what they can do. Maybe they were too nervous to stray too far from Cape Dory. Who knows, really?
For a surf-rock-esque band, I can’t help but make the analogy that you’d probably rather take Young & Old to the beach over Cape Dory. It has more of that bright and sunny side to soak up the sun and catch some waves too, whereas Cape Dory has more of the beach-side dive-bar sound. That being said, I can understand why you’d rather stay off the beach and and grab a cheap beer. Both sides make sense to me, but won’t to everyone.
Also, if you’re interested, please check out fellow music lover/blogger Cardinal Playlists’ interview with Tennis’ very own Alaina Moore HERE.
Can’t Miss: “Origins”, “Petition”, “Robin”, “Never to Part”
Can’t Hit: “Dreaming”, “Take Me to Heaven”
Note: Bonus tracks on albums are generally nothing to write home about, however, in this case, I’d advise to do so.