The Underground Sounds Of America: Tennis System
The noisy, dreamy Los Angeles-based trio bring grunge and shoegaze together on their latest album, Lovesick.
Had Shelf Life, the opening cut on this third album from Tennis System, emerged 25 years ago, it would have been dismissed as a My Bloody Valentine rip-off. In 2019, however, the LA trio slot perfectly into an environment where everyone from Nothing to MØL have done their shoegaze homework. Anyway, closer inspection reveals that Lovesick isn’t just about nu-gaze moves, with emo-slacker sentiment and punkily propulsive drums both helping to corral the woozy sounds into genuinely memorable tunes.
The catchiness and speed of Alone nods to the band’s hardcore roots, while the closing title-track matches blissed-out floatiness with wall-of-fuzz guitars like a DIY Smashing Pumpkins. Esoteric, meanwhile, refines the band’s soothe-and-smash formula. Given that My Bloody Valentine’s most iconic album was called Loveless, Tennis System have perhaps chosen a rather on-the-nose title here, but at least it adorns a fantastic record.