There are things both vintage and new in the plastic soul of Denver-based husband and wife duo Tennis. On the band’s latest release, Yours Conditionally, Helen Reddy meets the ’70s vibe of male/female duos like Buckingham Nicks, or the soulful disco shuffle of Minnie Riperton and the Commodores’ “Easy.”
There are glassy keyboards and Steely Dan guitar licks, as well as the dream pop of contemporary bands like Beach House up against the detached, aristocratic pretense of popular millennial indie rock acts like Vampire Weekend.
Throughout, in a breathy soprano, Tennis vocalist Alaina Moore admirably advocates for female representation in the music business. On album track “Ladies Don’t Play Guitar,” Moore coos, “Ladies don’t get down, down to the sound of it,” and later: “I can be the archetype of whatever you feel.”
Is she mocking or perpetuating female stereotypes in music? “I never got over childish dreaming,” Moore sings on “Baby Don’t Believe.” She’s eager to please, to be what we want her to be. That might just be Tennis’ fatal flaw: a willingness to adhere to genre and mood, despite an instinct to subvert the tropes of romantic pop nostalgia. It’s all just a bit too confectionary.
Tennis performs alongside Portland blueblood indie pop act Wild Ones, who come to Eugene behind their new release Mirror Touch, at 9 pm Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Hi-Fi Music Hall; $15 advance, $18 door, 21-plus.