They haven’t totally lost their 1950’s pop-rock gleam, but on Small Sound — an EP between 2012’s critically renowned Young & Old and their anticipated spring full-length — Tennis bulks up their sound, adding muscular riffs to a few of the grittier cuts (“Mean Streets”, “Cured of Youth”) and some seriously polished hooks to a pair of wildly catchy ones (“Dimming Light, “100 Lovers”). Aliana Moore’s voice shines: there’s sweetness, toughness, spite. Slightly more crafted, with less of the lo-fi dreaminess than the previous two records, Small Sound’s has bite: sometimes it drops into bigger choruses, at others it breaks into a wave distorted fuzz. It’s less formulaic and more freewheeling, seemingly feeding less off their influences while finding more of themselves.
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