Reviews

Tennis “Pollen” Album Review

Pollen

Tennis

  • Genre: Indie Rock
  • Date: 10 Feb, 2023
  • Content: explicit
  • Region: US
  • Track(s): 10
  • ℗ 2023 Mutually Detrimental marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

For their sixth studio album, “Pollen,” the indie power couple Tennis is back with a heavy dose of upbeat and carefree synth-rock songs. “Pollen” is as laid-back and carefree as Tennis have ever been, with ten songs that each maintain their own distinct rhythms. Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore have focused on what they do best: writing light, contagious, and groove-tastic pop songs, and are no longer concerned with establishing themselves in a crowded indie scene. “Pollen” is nothing less than an absolute blast from beginning to end. Every song emits the same fire of youthful assurance and shouts of an unhurried creative process.

Album Cover Art

Tennis &Quot;Pollen&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, March 3, 2024

The blurry album cover shows husband-and-wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, the couple that make up the band, Tennis, locked in a loving embrace like people who hadn’t seen each other for a while, or like those going through a trying moment. And just like pollen grains, the photo was also edited to fit the album title. Warmth, acceptance and love is all you see after a closer look at this artwork.

Tracks and Features

‘Forbidden Doors,’ the album’s first track, unfolds with relaxed enthusiasm. The track’s central drum beat remains rock-solid even when more synth lines are added to it. Just let it happen seems to be Pollen’s central message. Moore enters with some of her most iconic melodies as the strum of an acoustic guitar brings “Glorieta” to life. Moore’s voice have occasionally been obscured by the cacophony of sounds that make up Tennis’ tunes. The treatment is as direct as it has ever been this time around, rather than just being treated like another instrument.

Additionally, the album quickly shifts into a little heavier mode with the addition of rock rhythms in “Glorietta.” It’s a song with some serious style; in particular, the small breaks that are alternated throughout where the acoustic guitar rhythms are allowed to shine out before the willowy vocals propel the listener into a stinging chorus are powerful.

Throughout the project, Moore also delivers some strong lyrical jabs. Sometimes it’s funny, like when she writes “serving face” in place of “serving fate” in the song “A Night With The Valet.” Sometimes it’s downright funny, like when she says in the song “Never Been Wrong”: “I’ve never been wrong about anything or anyone,” before tumbling into a sonic landscape. Moore’s lyrics have always been more witty and cutting than she is given credit for.

Alaina’s vocals finds a new confidence on the song “Let’s Make A Mistake Tonight,” conveying a sense of conviction and self-assurance that supports the notion that this is the kind of album Tennis always hoped to release. Giving up any timidity, the voices blend seamlessly with the gorgeous guitar licks and powerful drum machine kicks as the background music. That campy, art-pop tone is already present in the song, which is easily remixable and might become a major euro dance banger.

Tennis are at their best on Pollen Song, a lush and hypnotic fusion of acoustic guitar, sensuous vocals, and tick-tack percussion. Moore’s pitch-perfect voice floats above a layered surface of rolling, light guitar strums, jingling chimes, and Moore’s own ethereal backup voices in this light and airy song.

Tracklist

NO

TITLE

TIME

1 Forbidden Doors 3:54
2 Glorietta 4:01
3 Let’s Make a Mistake Tonight 4:14
4 One Night with the Valet 1:53
5 Pollen Song 3:53
6 Hotel Valet 3:54
7 Paper 3:00
8 Gibraltar 3:57
9 Never Been Wrong 3:26
10 Pillow for a Cloud 3:11

Album Theme

“Pollen” pushes at those edges and discovers something more jovial while yet maintaining the smooth romanticism and easy-listening qualities for which the pair is renowned and adored. Tennis have produced a soundtrack from high to hangover on “Pollen” that will accompany you through the start, the clumsy middle, and the hazy end of a party.

Production Credits

Alaina Moore & Patrick Riley held down the album’s production.

Stream

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