True Panther Sounds.
SCQ Rating: 79%
At the present moment, it’s easy to take a band like Tanlines for granted. Upon first listen, they cater to the same blog-fueled craze for 80s reinvention that’s virtually too crowded a scene to pick names out of. From that assessment alone, Tanlines efficiently checklists a myriad of obvious qualifications: lots of dated synths, echoed drum patterns, and morose but catchy choruses. But what stubbornly renders Tanlines essential listening in 2012 can be deduced less from that New-Wave formula but how the Brooklyn–based duo toys with it.
Coarsely put, Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm filter Cut/Copy’s vein of anthemic 80s-for-indie-kids’ cool down to its most visceral gears. By deconstructing much of the gloss and frills, Mixed Emotions boasts strengths that pack a more human punch than your average, overproduced synth-athon. Emm’s vocals, which add an impassioned urgency to each track, sit front and center on defused techno highlights “Not The Same” and “Brothers” while Cohen keeps the record’s percussive flair inimitable by adding a tribal sense of momentum to even-keeled tracks like “Lose Somewhere” and “Real Life”.
Mixed Emotions still has a luxurious vibe that comes naturally to fun electro-pop records, showcased most exquisitely on “Rain Delay”, “Abbey” and the sentimental “Nonesuch”, but it's never used as a means of covering for one-dimensional songwriting. Tanlines is worthy of honing the 80s muse because their hands-on approach never confuses man with machine.