Tanlines' debut record Mixed Emotions couldn’t have come at a better time of the year. I've been mostly listening to this record whilst out and about, and with the recent sunny spells and teases of Spring in the air, I can safely say ‘Mixed Emotions’ is undoubtedly the soundtrack to those breezy pre-summer evenings and post-twelve degrees celsius afternoons.
Since 2008, the duo – Eric Emm (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Jesse Cohen (drums, keyboards, bass) – have released a wide variety of dance singles across labels such as Young Turks and Kitsuné, but it’s this debut album on True Panther Sounds that’s really going to establish them across the globe. Make no mistake – Mixed Emotions is huge; in fact it’s so vibrant and lush it could easily be passed off as yet another chillwave record. But to do so would be making a naïve and criminal mistake – the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” has never been so true.
The title of the album is a natural fit for what you’ll find inside: the pair produce dance music so vivid and colourful that it’s hard not to get lost in it, and it’s also hard to imagine it juxtaposed with some simplistic yet aptly melancholic lyrics. There’s enough mixed emotions here for absolutely anyone to relate to, and to be honest it’s refreshing to hear dance music that’s not only perfect for the dance floor, but has enough emotional substance for you to relate to in your bedroom as well. Dancemo, per say? (In absolutely no way should you take that as anything other than a joke.)
There’s some anthemic, sky-high club bangers here in the likes the soaring ‘Not The Same’ - a progressive pop gem that elevates slowly but unravels a wall of warm synths and irresistible hooks as it does so. Then of course there’s the recent single ‘Brothers’, a fitting soundtrack for twilight at the beach: bursting to the brim with deep bass, colliding waves, soothing whoa’s and a melody that’ll keep you coming back for more.
The album was mixed in Jimmy Douglas’ studio and Miami and with credits such as Aaliyah, Justin Timberlake, Television and Roxy Music under his belt, it’s easy to see these legendary pop influences seep through Mixed Emotions. ‘All Of Me’ could easily be a Top 10 radio hit if given the right exposure, and it’s so bloody good you wouldn’t care if it was – these guys deserve all the success they can get. They have a knack for undeniably infectious choruses, which oddly enough is understandable when your tour soundtrack consists of R.E.M and 80’s skate-punk records – two influences which have certainly shaped the way this record has panned out.
Spanning 12 tracks at just over 45 minutes in length, Tanlines keep your attention right up to the slow jam closer that is ‘Nonesuch’. You just never know what’s around the corner with these two – one minute you’re on a sandy shore soaking up the rays and the next you’re slow-dancing with your first love at the school disco. ‘Mixed Emotions’ is an understatement and extremely modest on the band’s behalf – Tanlines have delivered an overwhelmingly brilliant, memorable, picturesque debut that is bound to reap top spots come the end of year lists. If you enjoy dance music, sunshine and good times then you won’t be let down by making a space for ‘Mixed Emotions’ in your soundtrack this summer.