Tennis – Small Sound :: EP Review

When: 2013
Where: Communion
Like/Love: LOVE
This is another one of those times where we consider certain releases as 2014 because we’ve somehow missed it when it actually came out. We did it for the scrappy garage rock sounds of Sonic Graffiti’s Friendly Unit Creation Kit, and now we’re doing it for Tennis’ latest EP Small Sound. Do we care? Nah.
We hadn’t heard a lot of Tennis prior to this release, as their 2011 debut Cape Dorycontained too many sweeteners that rotted our teeth for two years. So we missed the entirety of their next LP Young And Old, which we could have used to get rid of the surgary goodness that remained in our mouths. Young And Old saw Tennis team up with Black Keys’ Patrick Carney which allowed the band to add a little extra fuzz and edge to their otherwise perfect pop sound, which the duo have continued to expand on with Small Sound.
Mean Streets opens up with an abrupt vocal and drum beat combo that cuts through the air to give off an immediate punch to the listener that’s strong enough to be somewhat of a surprise from a Tennis novice like us. It plods along at a nice pace and the additon of synths and piano chords quickly remind the listener that they’re listening to some traditional pop tunes, but I’ll be damned if it ain’t tasty.
What’s great about Small Sound is that there’s a sense of maturity amongst the preppy synths and sweet female vocals which finally gives Tennis’ material a bit of depth to sustain repeated listens. Everything sounds a little more focused, the sounds are allowed to stick around for a little bit to witness the listeners’ reactions, and for the most part it all comes together very nicely. Tennis still retain their idyllic songwriting skills, and there’s a ton of hooks packed into this EP, and well, it leaves us excited for more Tennis records. Now we just need to go check the other stuff we missed out on. Maybe we should brush our teeth first.
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