Our favorite seafaring, independently produced musical duo, Tennis, released their new EP last Friday. Those fond of Tennis’ light and airy tracks can be relieved that We Can Die Happy (2017) contains similar stylistic elements to their last releases. In fact, the EP sounds much, much like their other work but Tennis’ style is hard to deviate from successfully. Alaina Moore’s distinctive vocals match harmoniously with the sugary beats that support her melodies, creating the dreamy pop signature of the duo. It’s difficult to imagine any other approach being executed successfully, and so with Die Happy, I’ll take the likeness of the EP not as a lack of originality, but an attempt to build on an already sturdy foundation.
There’s not a solid banger in Die Happy like “Never Work For Free” off of Ritual In Repeat (2015), but there are attempts at maturation. Tennis still holds onto a very similar sound, but their approach is a little less boppy and a little more modern. Die Happy starts off with “No Exit,” a song that reminds me much of Haim’s first album, and sounds like respectable background working music just the same. This energy continues for the next few songs, but the meanings do not. “I Miss That Feeling” and “Diamond Rings” contain lyrics that contrast with their tempo, like “A dissenter cannot be a slave / I’m waiting on you to make my heart move.” Closing the EP, “Building God” is a reflective stance on personal idols, and is solemn in comparison to their bright, confident tracks of the past. It’s slower and more sobering than their earlier works, but continues a sobering trend from their newer tracks.
We Can Die Happy deserves a spot on your next playlist, but maybe not one titled “Tracks of the Year.” EPs are already held to b-side quality expectations compared to full-lengths, so the fact that the songs hold well on their own is considered a treat. It’s consistent and satisfactory, but ultimately caters only to those who were looking for Tennis to deliver more of the same.
Written by Delaney Gomen.