LA’s Tennis System make no secret of their love for My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Jesus And Mary Chain and it’s clear for all to see on their debut album. Yet this youthful band also remember to inject their own personality in to this occasionally stunning record.
It’s fair to say that ‘Teenagers’ does take a while to get going. An atonal noise experiment (‘Chop Wood Carry Water’) is swiftly followed by the more traditional shoegaze sounds of ‘Snowden’. Some songs owe more than a little debt to MBV (witness the distorted noise-pop of ‘Lovers & Fake Friends’) and fans of a more modern act, The Horrors, will draw obvious parallels after listening to ‘Hey, We Tried’.
Halfway in to the record though, the real talents of Tennis System come to frutition. The delightful ‘Arcane’ gravitates from shimmering, melancholic verses to an ecstatic chorus. They not only repeat the trick again for ‘You And Me VS’ but make an even more exultant song. It’s perhaps no coincidence that the two best tracks are the most straightforward too but also worth a mention is the gentler ‘Ladies Lament’.
Above all the usual noise one would expect from an act in thrall to the original shoegaze heroes, one of the album’s strengths is the emotional pull of Matty Taylor’s vocals which elevates this record from genre pastiche to psychedelic glory. The revival lives on.
My Bloody Valentine, The Horrors, Ride