Friday 9 March 2012

Tanlines - Mixed Emotions

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on

Upon hearing the serrated electro-pop of single 'S.A.W.' (sadly not included here) back in 2010 I wasn't the only one to make a mental note of the band name. By this point Tanlines had already been in existence for two years, and it's taken a further two years for them to finally complete their debut album. What took them so long? Are they just perfectionists who've tweaked the songs endlessly, or has it simply taken that time to create a sound that makes them stick out from the crowd of other Brooklynites? It can't be easy vying for space in one of the English speaking world's most vibrant alternative music scenes.

Looking for answers when listening to 'Mixed Emotions' proves fairly fruitless. It's with a heavy heart that I say this album is nothing more than 'OK'. The disappointment is frustrating rather than crushing, with these dozen songs offering teasing glimpses of what could have been; the jubilant, uplifting chorus on 'All Of Me'; the summery jangle of 'Lost Somewhere' with its Beach Boys aping refrain of "You know there's an answer"; the clattering, off-kilter pop of 'Green Grass'. Sadly such moments are fleeting.

For the bulk of the record we have to settle for mid-paced blandness. It seems as though Tanlines couldn't decide whether to be chillwave or Friendly Fires and have settled for a musical no man's land somewhere in between. Tracks like 'Laughing' and 'Abby' chug along aimlessly. There's no danger of getting them lodged in your head, too much here is instantly forgettable and 'Mixed Emotions' washes over you, often without you even realising it's there. Maybe this album's creation was so long purely through a lack of ideas? Whatever the reason it just seems like a missed opportunity and a crying shame.

Free download: 'All Of Me'

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