P A I N by Tennis System (Graveface Records)
Imagine an amalgamation of Ride and Fugazi, unleashing their auditory entreaties upon a world gone wild – and you are only beginning to envision what L.A.’s own Tennis System has in store for you. With bands such as Teenage Wrist and Hundredth introducing shoegaze to a whole new generation of music aficionados. Tennis System is ready to slam their own vibrant trademark onto the proceedings.
P A I N is the name of the latest masterwork – an EP jammed packed with introspective lyrics and a barrage of sound that is both blissful and daunting. Tennis System has become well known for live shows that are nothing short of epic, and within the realm of the almighty P A I N, their energy and passion is persuasively captured.
P A I N commences with the sparkling Coming Down, lulling the listener into the grand and turbulent world of Tennis System. Lackluster then explodes into your psyche with passionate vocals, atmospheric guitars, and heavy rhythms slashing into the heart of the matter. “Sudden death, I’m a mess…” is the tempestuous beginning to Everybody, where the moments of wistful longing are tremendously poignant within the confines of this dazzling selection.
“Where do I go from here, I just want to disappear,” muses guitarist-singer Matty Taylor on the spiraling Clearer, where emotionally charged vocals and spiraling melodies mesh with kaleidoscopic results. Crushing is pretty much what the title would suggest, superbly intensive and relentlessly multi-layered and fuzzed out. And closing out the P A I N manifesto is Lie, absolutely entrancing with its punk rock aesthetics as the lyrics “I’ve been living a lie my whole life” are tenaciously repeated throughout.
The remarkable trio who invite you into the realm of Tennis System are topnotch musicians fearlessly placing their hearts and souls into their music, no matter what the cost. Matty Taylor not only delivers potent lyrics with fierce sense of conviction, but his guitar work is inspiring and otherworldly. Sam Glassberg supplies an infinite low-end on bass, while drummer Garren Orr brings it all home with a wide-eyed vengeance. The vibrant tapestries found within P A I N are wondrously adventurous, destined to intrigue and inspire all whom encounter their pulsating refrains. Expect to hear a lot more from Tennis System in the months ahead, as P A I N is destined to catapult these talented collective into the stratosphere.
(Review by Ken Morton)
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