Building on their dreamy combination of perfect melodies and classic songwriting, “Yours Conditionally” sees a full circle return to their nautical roots of sorts, with the duo even writing part of the album while sailing at sea, what Alaina calls “a grandiose gesture”, a necessary venture of revisiting the past to reinvigorate the present. However, the pair dig deeper and darker this time round, with the resultant album wedding discussions of identity and self-sacrifice to some of their most pristine and infectious hooks yet.
Achingly beautiful lead single “In the Morning I’ll Be Better”, written about the “precariousness of our lives”, sums up this paradox completely, with gorgeous melodies belying its subject matter of Riley seeing a family member through a serious illness. “Please Don’t Ruin This For Me” and “Fields of Blue” also deliciously straddle the light/ dark divide, while others, like “Ladies Don’t Play Guitar” and the divine swoon of “Modern Woman” hit the pop bullseye square on the nose while unpacking conflicting themes of feminism and industry archetypes.
Taken in toto, “Yours Conditionally” sees a band at maturation point, looking fondly to the past while also staring down the uncertainty and confusion of the future without flinching. This is Tennis at their contrary, compelling best.
STAFF COMMENTSMartin says: ‘Ritual In Repeat’, Tennis’ previous outing, was the last of three increasingly polished releases; perhaps they felt they had lost something along the way, for, having been an idea initially conceived at sea, the husband and wife duo ditched a drummer, dispensed with slick production, took on studio duties themselves, and decided to return to the source for inspiration. ‘Yours Conditionally’ then was born on the waves, on a journey down the United States East Coast from San Diego to the Sea Of Cortez. The result was a reinjection of humanity and their finest album to date; a balmy, sun-drenched jaunt breathing in soft soul, Fleetwood Mac and The Carpenters and exhaling warmth into what had always been gorgeously crafted songs. The lilting delivery and Alaina Moore’s elegant, passionate voice mask a stinging satirical lyricals around the stereotyping of women; but when she sings “I really love you; I just can’t help myself” on the delightful “Fields Of Blue”, she does it with such apparent abandon it is hard to believe she doesn’t mean it. Nothing wrong with that, nothing at all. Beautiful, in any case.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Limited white coloured vinyl.
Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.