Tennis’s new album “Swimmer” runs 31 minutes long and features nine songs. 

This is Tennis’s fifth studio album. Tennis is an indie-pop duo comprised of husband-and-wife Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley. “Swimmer” is a celebration of both the duo’s tenth marriage anniversary, and the 10-year anniversary of the band. 

Tennis has a unique sound. A mixture of bright pop and lo-fi beats worthy of a YouTube playlist – you know the type I’m talking about – Tennis could be enjoyed by many with vastly different music tastes. 

If I had to explain the specific sound of “Swimmer,” I would say it is along the lines of if ABBA hung out with Langhorne Slim & The Law in the studio (maybe featuring Boom Forest on a song or two), and then Adam Driver or Daniel Radcliffe asked the two groups to make an album that could specifically be used as the playlist to a small, slightly tragic rom-com. 

When I say this, I mean both the sound and the lyrics fit the bill for this mega-band making this soundtrack for these specific actors. (And you KNOW the vibe I mean.) “Swimmer” is centered on identity. Moore and Riley explore identity within relationships, out of relationships, within faith, outside of faith, others’ perceptions of you and your perceptions of yourself. 

The unique emphasis on the bass guitar and keyboard showcases the married couple’s musicality beyond their song-writing abilities and Moore’s voice. The entire album has somewhat of a heady feeling: not quite atmospheric, but not quite with two feet on the ground. 

Even though the tone of the instruments is bright, the overarching mood of “Swimmer” is introspective and, at times, melancholic. Of course, there are bright spots. The quick, whaling guitar brightens the album. The driving bass guitar then adds the little bit of rock that Tennis is not scared to showcase. 

Tennis doesn’t seem to be scared to experiment. And I would go so far as to say they experimented a bit with “Swimmer.” Maybe not with new sounds for them, and maybe not with the material the lyrics address. However, the unique blend of distinct sounds each song features creates an album that, by all means, should feel disjointed.

It doesn’t. The funky new blend of sounds totally works. It creates an album you could listen straight through and not really have your mood or heartrate jump around as a result from the vibe of the album suddenly changing. But the songs are distinct enough that even if you have “Swimmer” on as background noise while you’re working on an assignment or you’re just vibing cleaning the kitchen you’ll know when each song begins and ends. 

Overall, I’d say “Swimmer” is a solid album to vibe to. Put it on while you’re studying or doing stuff around your room and see if you agree. 

Rating: 7.7/10 

Rad Tracks: “Need Your Love,” “How to Forgive,” “Swimmer,” and “Tender as a Tomb”

“Swimmer” is available for streaming on all major platforms!

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