The husband-and-wife retro-pop duo Tennis’ fifth studio album is an ode to the kind of picture-perfect relationship we all dream about, standing strong together in the face of tragedy.
Recorded after a health scare to frontwoman Alaina Moore due to exhaustion and the death of multi-instrumentalist Pat Riley’s father, Swimmer is full of starry-eyed declarations of admiration for her husband, saying that she’d have been completely lost if not for his support. She even jokes that they’re so eternally intertwined that she’ll likely end up haunting him as a ghost.
Tennis has always sounded directly out of another time with their glossy replication of 70s pop, but they play around with experimental rhythmic switch-ups and modern percussion quirks more than ever before. Riley constantly adapts his playing style to every line his wife sings.
Swimmer, like most Tennis albums, was conceptualized while on a lengthy boating adventure on the duo’s own personal vessel. As Moore readily admits she never learned to swim, the album’s title draws reference to a feeling of uncomfortable suspension, fighting to keep yourself upright. It’s a good thing she has someone to hold onto, keeping her afloat.