“Cape Dory” attracted an unusual amount of attention for such a young band, thanks in part to a back story that sounded more like a movie plot. Band members Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley had written the album while sailing along the Eastern Seaboard for seven months, an experience that led to their marriage after the trip’s conclusion. The songs themselves reflected the pair’s time at sea, mixing ‘50s pop melodies with a tropical, beachy theme.
This time around, the band has a different kind of secret weapon in the form of Black Keys percussionist Patrick Carney, who produces “Young and Old” and lends its songs some muscular heft. Tennis certainly isn’t a heavy band; tunes like “My Better Self” feel like modern-day re-creations of Brill Building pop songs, stripped of the ornate string arrangements and performed with hip, lo-fi nonchalance. Even so, Mr. Carney’s influence adds some weight to these airily melodic tracks, which float along in a haze of keyboards and female vocals.
Miss Moore is the real star here, responsible for the album’s cutesy charm and punchy hooks. Her vocals, barely discernible beneath the hazy reverb that hung over “Cape Dory,” are pushed to the forefront, and she sings each number like a newlywed who’s been through the honeymoon stage and glimpsed what life is like on the other side. “Young and Old” may still be cute, but it’s got a dangerous bite, too.