As soon as the needle hits vinyl on Denver-based minimalist pop duo Tennis‘ Yours Conditionally, the band’s progression – in both lyricism and instrumentals – is unmistakeable. We got our hands on a copy of the freshly pressed album – released with our favorite record subscription company Vinyl Me, Please (VMP) – and were immediately drenched in 70’s nostalgia with first track “In the Morning I’ll Be Better”. The feel of that track is directly mirrored – in a strange and beautiful way – by the album cover, which is presented in matte form and with a dulled, vintage color scheme that seems more than just esthetically pleasing. The vinyl itself is split baby blue and light pink, just as soft and subdued as the colors featured on the gatefold jacket and sixteen page booklet with photos included inside. (Did we really expect anything less from this stellar combination of artist and VMP, though?)
While Alaina Moore’s vocals have more dimension than ever before, we notice she sways toward sounding like the incomparable Carole King – and even maybe Alanis to an extent – from second track “My Emotions Are Blinding” and on. “Fields of Blue” – although perhaps not a direct reference to the baby blue half of the album – is soft listening gold, “Ladies Don’t Play Guitar” calls to mind more of our more radical feminist movements of today in a soft and supple way.
While we bounce through “Matrimony” and “Baby Don’t Believe”, we find that “Please Don’t Ruin This for Me” might be the standout track we’ve been looking for, a mid-tempo song that involves its listener by throwing in group clapping and a more ethereal sound palette. (You have to hear it to really understand what we mean here, of course. So listen to it.) “10 Minutes 10 Years” calls upon the idea of linear and finite time, and ninth track “Modern Woman” addresses insecurities and other important issues with a light as air feel to it all. Tennis rounds out this masterpiece with a mellow, beautiful track called “Island Music” which has that island feel that brought many 1950’s tracks to the forefront.
Yours Conditionally is really – at its core – an album you can enjoy while sipping cocktails with friends, play while wiggling your toes in the sand at the beach, or – and this would be our most favorite of them – engage in real, effective conversation with and about. While it addresses so many hot topics in subtle and beautiful ways – and perhaps allows us to raise our collective consciousness while exploring its depths – we still can’t get over the cover art.
In fact, this album might just be pure perfection for your springtime collection, esthetically and musically.
Keep up with Tennis here.