Summer is nearly over, but there is still plenty of sunshine and warmth to be found radiating from Tanlines’ debut album, Mixed Emotions. Despite the title, mixed emotions are one thing you won’t feel about this album. Opening thumper “Brothers” is followed by the equally bouncy “All Of Me” for a solid one-two that will pull you in and knock you down, all but daring you to get up before the album finishes. Describing their music as “experimental pop”, the Brooklyn-based duo have given the world an album of lush, synth-driven songs supported by calm but catchy singing and the occasional jangly guitar.
Though solidly in the indie/electro category, a subtle world-music influence permeates Mixed Emotions, especially when it comes to percussion and backing vocals. Percussionist Jesse Cohen brings out this flair particularly well on the flippantly titled “Yes Way”, “Real Life”, and late album stand-out “Cactus”.
Though mostly sweet, Tanlines have a pensive side, too. The fourth track, “Abby”, saunters in at just the right moment, quieting the album’s flow to a dreamier state. “Not The Same” is the real star of the more abstract songs though, building a longing that slowly creeps over the listener like a thick fog, plaintive cries of “We’re not the same” repeating to the end.
Though synth-heavy experimental indie pop releases have been plentiful in the past few years, the catchy rhythms and pervasive warmth of Tanlines’ Mixed Emotions make it one of the few to be remembered.
Even if you missed the opportunity to play this album throughout your summer, buy it anyway, point a lamp at your face, pull on your headphones, and light up your autumn. As vocalist Eric Emm promises at the end of dreamy album closer “Nonesuch”: “It’ll all be better”.