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Album Review: Tennis - Pollen

Tennis' sixth album is all about the slow reveal guiding you through introspection.

By Sean Lawrenson, First Year English

The American husband-and-wife duo follow on from their 2020 album Swimmer with an at times truly profound record, which, although it at times seems to get lost in itself, ultimately has a lot to say and does it in typical Tennis fashion: with no fear.

The first chord played on the very first track ‘Forbidden Doors’ almost acts as a trojan horse for the listener, with the following track ‘Glorietta’, returning to an acoustic guitar heavy lead. The record flips back and forth between these two instruments leading, acting as a solid balance for which the supporting drums can interact with. One of my personal favourites from the album, ‘Glorietta’ tells the story of a person who is lost at sea, within themselves, leading to lines "Can’t believe what it looks like, I only want it to feel good", which leaves quite the lasting impression.

The first song released as a single prior to the album’s release was the dreamy ‘One Night with The Valet’. In a way, the song sticks out in just how different it is to other songs on the album. Moore’s vocals are a particular highlight throughout the record, but it is on this track where they truly get a chance to shine. The underscoring of piano against a simple drum beat works perfectly alongside Moore’s switch from high pitched singing to talking over the beat. It certainly feels like the right decision to have released this song first, particularly in the day and age of TikTok heavy songs, as it seems to be the most accessible to new listeners of the band.

Whilst that song is by far the most popular on the album, there are certain tracks which seem to have a slight edge on it, both from a music and lyrical perspective. One notable example of this is the titular ‘Pollen Song’, with sombre lines like "Don’t know when my body became so fragile / Even a spring rain is too much to handle", the song is a self-destructive look at meandering, being offset by the weirdest things in life, when even pollen can wreak havoc. The song ends when the speaker and we presume their partner "go cruising over highways," capturing the beauty and danger that comes with a picturesque summer skyline.

The record runs through a journey between two people, with the listener allowed the luxury to either feel involved, or a mere bystander to these events. It is a record you can relate to and give yourself up to, or remain withdrawn like an outsider looking in. It is my belief that the former approach leads to a much more enjoyable experience.

Featured Image: Pollen Album Cover

Have you listened to Pollen?