16 April 2012
Brooklyn-based duo, Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm aka Tanlines, stopped by Il Motore this week and showcased songs from their debut full-length, Mixed Emotions. The morning of the show I had decided I wasn’t going to go, as it was Monday, and I was still recovering from the weekend and had a shit ton of work to do – but at the last minute I changed my mind and made it to Il Motore just as they were getting ready to go on, and I’m glad I did, because it was a great show.
The crowd was small but lively, dancing around and getting swept into the vocals by Cohen and the pounding bass and stand-up drumming by Emm. Emm made quirky comments about the duo’s love for Canada in between each song, and they seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage. Mixed Emotions is a slow burn of an album, but incredibly infectious once the melodies get stuck in your head. Like Cut Copy and Hot Chip before them, Tanlines work the 80’s aesthetic, pulling influence from Peter Gabriel, New Order, The Police and Phil Collins, and mixing it with tribal rhythms and tropicália flourishes.
Mixed Emotions has received mixed reviews across the blogosphere, some reviewers claiming they wished it was dancier, others that they had hoped the duo would have pushed their sound further, while others say its mix of sun, fun and melancholy falls flat overall. And a writer for the Mirror called their music something like “indie rock meets The Lion King”. But for this reviewer, Tanlines full-length balances its emotions perfectly. “Not the Same” is a powerful song that aims for the gut and succeeds, while banger “Real Life” is a near flawless ‘fun’ track designed to get you dancing. I think the album plays out well from start to finish, and gets better with successive listens, as the vocal melodies begin to glue themselves to your brain and you find you just want to keep listening again and again.
A great Monday night show and one of my favourite albums of the year thus far. Check it.