Cross-pollinate the chutzpah of John McEnroe with the hopeless romantic pop sensibility of Pinkerton-era Weezer and you get: Tennis Pro, a kitschy local band with a possible shelf life.
After attending two Tennis Pro shows, I found myself walking out of the venue in the best mood. Each time was a delightfully giddy, playfully posturing forty minutes. If you are even remotely interested in the Seattle music scene, you have probably heard Tennis Pro plays energetic gigs dressed in full vintage tennis regalia (with ALL the accoutrements I might add: wooden rackets, trophies, mirrored sunglasses, sweater vests and moderately form-fitting white pants).
Tennis Pro's debut, Happy is the New Sad, is an essential addition to your iPod's "Summer 2004" playlist. They rock some crazy hummable pop tunes. With a sunny songscape littered with oooh's and aaah's and baa baa baa's, this band puts the biggest smile on my face, all teeth and gums.
Although not as raw and sweaty as their live show, this brief and well-produced 31-minute initial work crams in eleven punchy, pop gems with crushable lyrics. My favorite track is the debut's opener "Why break curfew?" – a song close to my Libran heart about indecision a la The Clash's "Should I stay or should I go?" An adorably precious song, which sounds so great live, is "Mix Tape." After his girl listens to his brilliantly compiled, low tech songlist, guitarist/songwriter Dave Drury foretells, "She's gonna cry/She's gonna scream/Oh, please marry me!" Another star is "Bellingham," written by bassist/songwriter Phil Peterson. Opening with an early Elvis Costello-styled guitar riff, punctuated with Stephen Malkmus-like ooh – aah's, Phil and Dave muse on having "nothing but love" for the college town over Sean Lowry's sweat-inducing, precise percussion. Sonic summer bliss is all over this recording, like the expression of 'love IS cycle safety' on "Motorcycle," or the lighthearted exasperation with American girls on "Rock over Tokyo," or the deft driving song, "Dad's Camaro."
So go put on your mirrored aviator sunglasses, slide on your headphones turned up to a sensible 11.5 and GO PRO!