The artwork for Tanlines’ debut album has the duo, Eric Emm (vocals/keyboards/guitar) and Jesse Cohen (drums, keyboards, bass), looking pretty miserable, or possibly they’re pulling their best ‘serious musicians’ faces. Either way, it doesn’t strike you as being an album that’s going to be much fun. But as the saying goes, don’t judge a book (or album in this case) by its cover. Go beyond the black and white artistic moodiness and give Mixed Emotions a go. When you do, you’ll find that melancholic moments are just one part of the album.
It’s aptly named; the record boasts a whole load of different feelings, instruments and paces. Joining these variants is a slightly echoey, indie come electro come pop sound that is emphasised by Emm’s angsty, baritone vocals.
Tanlines – Brothers
But there are many differences from one song to another. Some are dancey, upbeat tracks. For instance, Laughing and Cactus provide light, sunny vibes. Cactus is exotic, with maracas and a catchy rhythm, whilst Laughing is the kind of song you play whilst skipping through a field in summer with the gal/guy of your dreams. Real Life begins with tribal drums and has a Caribbean carnival feel that extends to Emm’s voice, which miraculously adopts a Jamaican accent of sorts.
Alongside these breezy, cheerful tracks are slower tempo, mellow tracks. Nonesuch has an eighties feel that you can also hear in Rainy Delay. They add a depth and provide a welcome change of pace.
The highlight of Mixed Emotions is Not The Same. It marks the overriding theme of the album, which I think (sorry if I’ve got this wrong) is that time passes and people change, or other people think they change, but actually they don’t, but then again, maybe they do. It’s confusing, but so’s life. Anyway, this song has the slow build up of keys, guitar twills, vocals and synth, and maybe even a little bit of violin at one point. Emm’s vocals work best in an emotional, powerful fist grabbing song like this. It’s the kind of song you can listen to on repeat and relate to your own life, which I have done, and it was great.
Mixed Emotions is out on the 19th March, if you’re browsing the record shelves and come across Tanlines, you might be intrigued by their exterior moodiness, e.g. ‘what have they got to be so sad about? Well I’ll listen and find out!’ But if that’s not the case, give it a go anyway, because this is a record with a lot of variety and texture, and surprises can be very nice.
You can pre-order Mixed Emotions here.