Denver duo Tennis returns to indie-pop scene with ‘Swimmer’

Arrion Smith

Out of heartbreak and emotional plight comes some of the greatest music of all time. These are the struggles that created the latest album from Denver-based indie pop duo Tennis, titled “Swimmer.” Released Feb. 14, “Swimmer” proves the talented duo is coming in with fresh vibes.

Tennis, which consists of spouses Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, came out with their debut album, “Cape Dory,” in 2011. The indie pop group has a groovy sound paired with unique lyrics. Since then, the two came out with multiple albums and singles, but this new release is stunningly different.

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Tennis’ last album release was “Yours Conditionally” in 2017, so this 2020 release was a big comeback for the duo. Having gone through a lot of trial and error the last couple years, they were ready to present the beautiful nine tracks that they produced. 

The intro song, “I’ll Haunt You,” is a soft song accompanied by haunting piano chords. Bringing a calm vibe, it sets a precedent for the album’s tone. In the beginning verse, “As the sun slips over my shoulder/ I can tell I’ve been getting older,” Moore sings that she is maturing and can feel the differences shifting within her actions.

Throughout the song, she slowly loses hold of her relationship with her partner, which is revealed when she says, “How long can we stay like this?/ Leaning in for one more kiss/ I’m holding you so long/ I will haunt you when I’m gone.”

A solid drum introduces the second song of the album, “Need Your Love.” Compared to the first song, it’s more upbeat and yearning for love. This song talks about not being able to escape someone’s love. 

Swimmer’ was dark but emulated light, letting us get to know the duo even better.”

“Echoes” pairs a happy melody with the real story of Moore’s hospitalization during the tour. The song follows her throughout the hospital after she fainted and had a non-epileptic seizure. After almost canceling the tour, Moore instead chose to use the experience as a muse. In verse two, Moore sings, “Get a doctor, my wife’s going under/ She’s off where the sun isn’t shining,” narrating through her traumatic experience.

“Tender as a Tomb” takes a lighter turn, using unique metaphors to portray an easy, simple love story. The lyrics “With my heart in my throat/ And the sun on my face/ Lying here in your arms/ I know this is the place” give the album a sense of brevity and optimism. Unlike the other songs that are more deep and intense, “Tender as a Tomb” talks about knowing you are with your person and how it feels right.

The outro song, “Matrimony ll,” leaves us with a perfect closeout to the genuine and real feelings that the duo went through. This song highlights the feeling of love that is no longer fresh and new and how time can affect relationships. In the song, the metaphor of gravity is used for this sense of time, with the lyrics “No one knows of love that’s slow/ Held like the longest breath/ Or the gentle pull of gravity.” 

Tennis’ new release had a very strong storyline that was inspired by Moore and Riley’s lives and relationship. The lyrics were truly intelligent and unique, and the soft indie pop sound was achieved well. Swimmer” was dark but emulated light, letting us understand the duo even better.

Arrion Smith can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @arriesmith__