Love usually means zip in tennis, but for husband-and-wife musical duo Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, it’s quite the opposite. The two lovebirds formed retro-pop group Tennis after meeting at the University of Colorado, and somehow haven’t tired of answering questions about their relationship since. Even when they’re being pigeonholed by the hot topic (say, when they’re included in articles about how famous couples met), singer Moore says that her part-husband part-bandmate is the only reason she makes music to begin with.
The duo flaunt their fresh-off-the-presses album Yours Conditionally this Tuesday (March 14) at the Sinclair in Cambridge.
“I’m not at all tired of it [talking about our relationship] — marriage is the most fascinating part of my life,” Moore tells Vanyaland. “I’m not trying to legitimize convention or glamorize monogamy, but truthfully, the luck of our having found each other and then discovering a creative partnership beyond that is remarkable to me. I wouldn’t make music at all if I wasn’t with Patrick. Making music together is the part that interests me, even though our writing styles and tastes are totally distinct.”
Different writing styles aside, Yours Conditionally is actually the first album that the couple have written, recorded, produced and released themselves. The 10-track release is the result of a five-month sailing trip through the Sea of Cortez followed by some good ol’ fashioned cabin isolation in Fraser, Colorado, to produce the record. Much like “I’m Calling” from 2015’s Ritual In Repeat, the new tracks bear a certain ’80s-pop je ne sais quoi that lobs Tennis far beyond your average indie-pop outfit.
“Patrick is an excellent engineer and we work well alone. We wanted the freedom to work for ourselves on our own timeline,” Moore adds. “Lyrically, the record is a consideration of my relation to the world as a woman, as an artist whose work is transformed by another’s experience of it, and the conflicting needs that arise from these intersections.”
On a quick first listen, romance and infatuation seem to inundate tracks like “My Emotions Are Blinding,” but in reality, Moore’s lyrics ooze with acerbic sarcasm. “If the night goes exactly as planned/I’ll be giving all my attention/To the world’s most interesting man” Moore coos before admitting her so-called amorous “hysteria” on the single. The pair’s new tune “Ladies Don’t Play Guitar,” meanwhile, is a tad more straightforward with their mockery of society’s BS gender stereotypes. “Ladies don’t get down/Down to sound/Do they?” Moore asks on the track.
Well, at Tennis concerts, they sure as hell do.