Tanlines – Mixed Emotions

written by: March 22, 2012
Release Date: March 20th, 2012


Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., electronic duo Tanlines unintentionally began to form in 2008. Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm wrote and produced a remix of Telepathe’s “Chrome’s on It,” and it began to escalate from there. After collaboration and live performances, Tanlines was born. Emm from Don Caballero and Storm & Stress, and Cohen from Professor Murder drifted away from their respected style of music to formulate a customized blend of electronic with a hint of reggae. The duo released a two-track EP, New Flowers, in 2008 then another EP, Settings, via True Panther in 2010. After much anticipation, they dropped their first full-length album, Mixed Emotions on March 20.

After being evicted from their own studio, Tanlines recorded this album in a slew of locations, which turned out to work in their favor. The duo’s time spent writing is reflected in an honest, raw fashion in Mixed Emotions. Not to mention, four-time Grammy-winning engineer Jimmy Douglas (The Rolling Stones, Missy Elliot, Timbaland) mixed the album in Miami.

Originally introduced on Settings, “Real Life” is a tropical dance anthem. As the only song Tanlines double dips, “Real Life” is powered by synth and is bongo-frenzied. Although similar to the rest of the island-themed tracks off their EP, this track stands out on Mixed Emotions. Not to say Tanlines strays from the breezy tunes, but they take a more pop-focused approach.

Mixed Emotions emits a full-bodied sound that relies more heavily on Emm’s vocals and less on sampled beats. Fittingly so, the duo further strays away from the producing and remixing they began with to transcend into a fully functional band. Kicking off the album is “Brothers.” All hazy and sun-soaked, “Brothers” serves as a transition from tropical electro beats to organically driven melodies. Tanlines doesn’t entirely neglect the tropical backbone, but rather adopts a lesser punch. “Yes Way” is lead by a steel drum and Emm’s dominant baritone. Like the bulk of tunes on this album, “Yes Way” is drenched with carefree beats and warm tones.

With a dusting of 1980s throwback, Mixed Emotions embodies a youthful, sunny outer disposition, but it changes tone in “Nonesuch.” Blanketed with nostalgia and heartfelt confessions, this song ties into the album title with obvious intention. After a steady buildup, the duo gently brings it back down to earth with quiet finger-snapping and poignant vocals. Reminiscent of a prom or summer camp, “Nonesuch” is a ballad best suited for a disco ball and slow dance. Although Tanlines eliminates tropical drums in this last track, the warm blend of keys and gently throbbing bass is just as effective.

Tanlines – Mixed Emotions tracklist:

  1. “Brothers”
  2. “All of Me”
  3. “Green Grass”
  4. “Abby”
  5. “Yes Way”
  6. “Not the Same”
  7. “Lost Somewhere”
  8. “Real Life”
  9. “Rain Delay”
  10. “Cactus”
  11. “Nonesuch”