Tennis: “Cape Dory”

Tennis released a cassette over the summer in 2010.  It was three songs that recalled summer vacations to the coast.  It was a beachy paean to a different time.  It was a limited run and sold out fast.  Which meant that most of us were stuck scanning the indie dials and blogs to hear whatever we could.

Tennis toured for a while and finally released Cape Dory just after the new year.  It was worth the wait.  Cape Dory is the memory of the day you called in sick.  A day away.  The time you played hooky – because you could.  It’s music for boat shoes and sand and reminisces girl groups from the 50’s and 60’s.  There are songs on the album that would fit seamlessly as Sally Field dances and surfs through the opening of Gidget.  Got Snowmegeddon fever?  Cape Dory will take you away for a while.

Is it Lo-Fi?  Maybe.  Probably.  It’s not Chill Wave.  Which is good, because Chill Wave is a terrible term.  It sounds like something that an A&R Rep came up with to sell us a variation of music that we’ve heard before and liked.

Cape Dory opens strong.  Take Me Somewhere is the soundtrack to a travel agent’s office.  It’s you in a chair surrounded by posters and cruise ships.  It’s lazy guitars and vocals ease you into vacation.  As you leaf through brochures of exotic destinations, the hook gets you.  Long Boat Pass is your highschool squeeze and car cruising down the strip – with the top down, if you’re so inclined.  The title track is score to the Technicolor slide show your parents pulled out when you were kids.  To tell the story of their lives before you, when they roamed without urgency in the 60’s and 70’s.

I imagine Cape Dory as the less cheesy re-boot of Grease.  Take away Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and the group signing and this record is the movie.  It’s full of simple and catchy songs that tell the story of a classic American summer vacation.  Some of us were lucky enough to have one or two.  We still can – use Cape Dory as a guide.

The Details:

Label and Year: Fat Possum Records, January 2011 | Songs: Ten | Similar to: Girl Groups, a Less mournful El Perro de Mar | Best Place to Listen to It: Probably on a boat, definitely near a beach | Song that could replace Olivia Newton John’s part in the opening duo with John Travolta: Seafarer | Number of months until the season and the album match up: 6 or so (as of 2.1.11) | Representative lyric: “We didn’t realize that we had arrived at high tide, high tide. Will we make it out alive? Oh. | Heartwarming, Yes or No: Yes.

Listen here.  Tour dates too.


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