Hey, guys, remember Best Coast? Yeah, Best Coast. You remember how I totally did not like Crazy For You? Well, if you don’t, hey, I didn’t enjoy it. Tennis, however, is another story. Let me make this perfectly clear: I was scared as hell for Cape Dory. I had heard both “Marathon” and the album’s self-titled track “Cape Dory” and they sounded a bit similar as well as being striking in the vibe of Best Coast. With this mix, color me frightened for a potential disappointment. Good thing that wasn’t so.
The soundscape of Cape Dory is visibly rooted in the love between guitarist Patrick Riley and front-woman Alaina Moore, not just about each other, but rather more for sailing. After all, the couple spent a shit-ton of their time living on a sailboat, the reverence for water is completely understandable. But the question is: does this crazy, maybe neurotic love-life of this couple result in compelling pop music like I had hoped? Yes, it somehow does and I’m not exactly sure how they pulled it off.
So beginning with my major worry of the album before listening to it: the assumed lack in variety. The tone can go from a slow love song to a cute power-pop swoon from the wonderful voice of Alaina Moore. Cape Dory doesn’t go nuts with the sound variance, though, as it is grounded in its central theme of ocean lovin’. This is all okay, but I still think it would have been cool to see an attempt to push the project a little further, but there is only so much someone can do with the idea seafaring and only seafaring. There is a lot of soul and charisma in here and I find this to be the album’s major strength.
“Cape Dory” is still perhaps my favorite song off of the album. It starts nice and easy with the calming guitar and voice and then breaks into a fun dance song complete with incredibly singable breakdowns. I believe that those singable breakdowns gain a lot from the vocal talents of Alaina Moore. Her voice is smooth, soulful, cute, and at times, really powerful. It’s not that often that I can give it up to a band for having an awesome vocalist that not only gets the job done, but makes the music so much better than it has any right to be.
This is straight-up feel-good music. Cape Dory is rich in breezy songs, both in mood and in pace, albeit safe. I mean, I didn’t really expect “ballsy” out of this band but if they ever decided to enrich their sound quality and production variation down the road, they would have endless potential.
WINNER: “Cape Dory” by Tennis
WHY: When I hear Tennis, I want to drive around and not care that I have a literature test tomorrow. When I hear Tennis, I believe there is something for me to do when I get home after working forever. When I hear Tennis, I feel pretty nice.