Album Review Hooton Tennis Club - Big Box of Chocolates4 Stars
Liverpool four-piece draw you in with lyrics about the people and things and places they love.
Liverpool’s Hooton Tennis Club take a diary-style approach, penning songs about their own lives. They write about their friends – fictional and real – and have their own quirky characters come to life through an effervescent brand of jangle-pop. With the Merseyside four-piece’s second full-length, they’ve expounded on what made their debut such a delight. Whereas ‘Higher Point In Cliff Town’ was a band testing their own waters, ‘Big Box of Chocolates’ digs beautifully into themes of joy and the bittersweet, of both love and loss, a heightened audacity to their lyricism. Naturally, it’s filled with Parquet Courts-style slacker rock and the ‘90s guitar essences of Pavement. In this style, Hooton Tennis Club have composed an enchanting, charming open love letter about those close to home.
Bootcut Jimmy is the first character shout-out in ‘Bootcut Jimmy The G’, a playful character analysis in the wryest manner of storytelling. The whole album is written in this tone of whimsical perception, narrated by guitarists Ryan Murphy and James Madden, all tongue-in-cheek cracks fitted against lo-fi guitars. Lead single ‘Katy-Anne Bellis’ is an ode to guitarist Murphy’s ex-housemate who moved out, full of pleas for her to visit. ‘Lauren, I’m In Love!’ is a sweet, charming track dedicated to none other than BBC presenter Lauren Laverne and her radio show: “Lauren sends her love to lift my Monday blues, and now the news / All through the day she keeps me company.”
The record takes a melancholic, but still upbeat, turn with record highlight ‘O Man, Won’t You Melt Me?’. It’s a wistfully plaintive half-ballad about idealism and disillusionment in romance, a track most everyone can relate to: “But I can tell that her man’s not me, it’s not me / Why would she change it all for me?”. ‘Meet Me at the Molly Bench’ is another standout, a magical, summery tune that exudes sunshine, sinking you even deeper into Hooton Tennis Club’s spell.
The whole record shows them as a band who wear their heart on their sleeve, a perfect mix of ‘90s guitar nostalgia and sweet-sounding slacker rhythms. The four-piece draw you in with lyrics about the people and things and places they love, and before you know it, you’ll have fallen in love with Hooton Tennis Club yourself.
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Hooton Tennis Club - Katy-Anne Bellis
A suitably reliable supply of simple, no-frills guitar pop.
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