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- Small Sound EP by Tennis
7/10 ReviewBot300 Staff review, 04 February 2014
A veritable modern-day Captain & Tennille, Tennis have established themselves as America’s premier husband and wife yacht-pop duo in recent years with a steady stream of silky saccharine summer vibes that seem to turn up in our office like clockwork every three or four months. Here’s a new EP and it’s not annoying me nearly as much as I thought it would. The opener ‘Mean Streets’ is an entirely pleasant track that’s at odds with the freezing conditions outside our door, starting out with some synth piano which switches up to harmonica halfway through.
As the record continues, though, the sugar pop safeness does become a little cloying to me. I’m sure there are people out there who can not only tolerate but enjoy their chirpy upbeat breathiness, but I’m afraid I really struggle with it. There are some great elements, I love it when they go a bit girl-groupy like in ‘Cured of Youth’ and ‘Dimming Light’ and think they should definitely focus more on the Motowny side of their side than the hazy tropical floaty side, which strikes me as less substantial and sometimes actively detrimental to what are otherwise decent songs.
I can’t say it’s badly made, but to my ears music this relentlessly optimistic is as divisive as the most challenging free jazz or black metal. You’ll either love it or never want to hear it again.
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