Tennis is best enjoyed in short shorts. That goes for the sport, and for the new band from Denver, Colorado, whose debut album Cape Dory is short-shorts music at its finest: summery, breezy and gently intoxicating, like piña coladas on a Caribbean isle.
Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, the husband-wife duo behind the music, are probably America’s cutest indie band ever. She is thin, petite and effortlessly pretty, with a giant mop of luscious curls; he is tall, boyishly handsome and suspiciously blond. They have a playful spark to them, matched with an undeniable wholesomeness, and their story is just as charming as they are.
The couple couldn’t find jobs after college, and decided to sell their worldly possessions and spend 8 months sailing along the north Atlantic coastline. Their epic nautical adventures inspired a smooth and sultry debut album, packed with gently-executed nostalgic beach tunes that reminisce about their time at sea.
It opens up with ‘Take Me Somewhere’, which starts tenderly, builds to a jittery bridge, and breaks down 50s-style into a catchy hook. It makes you realise right off the bat that this is going to be an album of subtle and rewarding surprises.
‘Long Boat Pass’ is a loungey little surf-pop tune that lingers on the memories of days spent anchored in an inlet, kept company by romance, passing shoals, and an itching desire to return to sea. ‘South Carolina’ is an upbeat anthem for Moore’s favourite state – her favourite because “nobody ever really goes there”. On the soft and vaguely doo-wop ‘Pigeon’, she sings about co-sailing: partnership on and off the seas.
The track ‘Cape Dory’ sums up nicely what the couple do best on the album: playing her sweet vocals against his electric-guitar heartbeat, with the occasional accents of percussion and keyboard ushering them into catchy chorus-lines.
The dulcet tones of her voice mingle naturally with the lead of his guitar, and it makes for a stirring duet. There’s a connection between Moore and Riley that translates into their music: it’s a back-and-forth exchange, a conversation between her voice and his guitar. This album, after all, is just as much about their own romance as it is about the romance of sailing the seas.
‘Marathon’ is by far the album’s stand-out track. It’s a hit in the making, and one of those rare songs that encapsulate the joy of a summer holiday in a few minutes of catchy musical undulations. This is the tune that the album will be remembered for.
Cape Dory is out next Tuesday, Jan 18th on Fat Possum Records. Available on CD, vinyl, and adorably: cassette.