Born out of a dance-punk group, Tanlines is the Brooklyn duo, Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm's, synthed-out dance-pop cabaret, and Mixed Emotions
is their brainchild.
If you've had enough synth-based, dance-pop, indie-rock music to last you through a thousand more winters, it wouldn't be surprising at all if you ran away screaming at the first synthesized note and tambourine hit on the single, "All of Me." Undoubtedly these are foot-stomping head-bobbing beats that would make the soberist of club goers feet itch, and when Cohen busts out tribal percussions---a'la Cut Copy meets tUnE-yArDs---all bets are off. Sparkling synthesizers, resonating bass, and reverb-laden vocals are commonplace throughout the album in some of the most easily accessible ways possible. But none of that is meant to be a strike against Mixed Emotions
. In fact, sometimes, the effect is a wonderful feeling of innocence and bliss as you roll your windows down on long, breezy spring-time drives, blasting "Lost Somewhere"'s 80s-influenced synth chords alongside sunny acoustic strums and sing-a-long choruses.
is about four years in the making, with Tanline's last release being in 2008, and that time lapse shows in the album's mixing and production. Most of the tracks feel paid attention to, rather than slapped together. Regardless of their commercially appealing grooves, most of the songs on this album still feel important to the artists. The ambient opening of "Brothers" feels longing and somewhat unsure, then it immediately jumps into an assured string of dance-friendly tracks, complete with synthesized beats and Vampire-Weekend-esque tribal rhythms. The tracks flow into each other with little interruption or questions hanging in the air.
Then again, this fluid approach also tends to make Mixed Emotions
fade out like background noise. It seems like Cohen and Emm have such a good grip on making dance tunes that tracks, such as the Phoenix-friendly indie rock bit "Rain Delay," end up passing by fairly unnoticed. This is a well produced album of danceable vibes from beginning to end, but it's also littered with the kind of songs that get played over the soft PA system of a local Starbucks, blared in the din of an intoxicated indie club, or given away freely and happily by iTunes. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but who really remembers them?