Album review | INDIE POP

Tennis, ‘Ritual in Repeat’

The difference between “Cape Dory,” the debut that established Tennis’s twee-and-easy nautical pop, and the husband-and-wife duo’s third album, “Ritual in Repeat,” is a sharp reminder that a band’s vision can be established right from the start, but focus might still arrive later. The new disc is as summery as ever, but there’s a sultrier kick, a hot-blooded sway in songs like “I’m Callin’ ” that Tennis lacked early on. Where once the group was soft, now it judiciously uses softness; even when the chorus of “Night Vision” blooms into a cloud of cooing vocals and cottony guitar jangle, it’s anchored by sharp drums and locked-down bass. The performances finally have weight, if not depth: Alaina Moore pushes her Madonnaesque voice a little harder in the beachy girl-group number “Bad Girls” and the Haim-ish “Never Work for Free,” and it pays off handsomely — something that holds true even when it’s just Moore and a lightly plucked acoustic guitar on “Wounded Heart.” (Out Tuesday)


ESSENTIAL “Night Vision”

Tennis performs at the Sinclair on Sept. 29.

Marc Hirsh can be reached at
Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.