Tennyson's mellow electronica flows on Different Water | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Tennyson's mellow electronica flows on Different Water

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Five years ago, Canadian brother-sister duo Tennyson were often seen as a prodigy act. Keyboardist and producer Luke Pretty was 17 when the group began to tour and record; drummer Tess Pretty was only 15. Now that they're 22 and 20, respectively, their performance is less of a novelty, but they retain the same charm. The Prettys started playing acoustic jazz gigs when they were barely in their teens, and these days they make polished electronica fusion with a smoothness you'd expect from people who've been working together for most of their lives. Tennyson’s latest self-released EP, this year’s Different Water, is more of what the band's fans have come to expect: memorable melodies and busy, layered beats, with touches of their jazz background sliding in and out of their compositions. The title track features a bubbling, mellow soundscape, with a Coltrane-inspired sax solo squonking in for a cameo. "Wintersleep" features the duo's rarely heard singing, with Luke on lead vocals and Tess on mixed-down harmonies, and together their voices provide a nicely wavering contrast to the music's sheen. Luke also sings on the danceably upbeat "Face the Night,” which is so hooky that it just about demands indie-pop radio play. Tennyson are no longer a teenage band, and they sound ready to settle in for the long haul.   v

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