Tanlines TanlinesVolume On
There’s still no explanation to clarify the reasons for the tropical frenzy that has been flooding the musical scene (and indie pop, in particular) for the last few years. Some will justify it with the enormous interplanetary repercussion of Animal Collective’s “Merriweather Post Pavillion”, others will attribute it to the Brooklyn sound of a few years ago spreading like a virus (Vampire Weekend, remember?), and a few will latch on to the idea that all of this jungle fever is just packaging in order to sell while there is still a public willing to buy. Other theories are welcome, but lately even the most unexpected group has started banging on bongos, apropos to nothing. In spite of this overkill, the year has brought us another abundant, satisfactory tropical shipment. There’s Delorean, for example, who after the warm welcome given to “Ayrton Senna EP” have not hesitated to appropriate the saturated Balearic sound on “Subiza”; El Guincho, who has continued on his international rise recalling 80s FM pop, was already down with this a long time ago. Is there more? Yes, there is: the California group Kisses, who have lost their summer virginity in a hotel complex where they only serve piña coladas just before lunch, and Yeasayer, who have reaffirmed themselves with their public as the oddballs of the bunch. And also based in Brooklyn, like Yeasayer, we have to take Tanlines into account, as they become more well known by the public.
The first news that we have of the duo dates back to 2008, when Eric Emm, whom we had seen before in math-rock groups like Don Caballero and Storm & Stress , and Jesse Cohen, whose background lies in party punk groups like Professor Murder , decided to join forces to manifest their opinions regarding Afro-tropical pop and dancing your head off: they did it with playful synthesisers and ornamental percussions that had nothing to do with their previous work, but which allowed them to release various singles on Young Turks and True Panther. Next came participations in Kitsuné compilations and, just a few months ago, an EP full of good melodic pretensions called “Settings”, which many trendsetting bloggers described as the next best thing. There is the hype.
And where there is hype, there is a hunger to know more about the group, and this is the reason why this release is taking place now, and only in the European market. The cover is relatively ideal for a band that generates such nostalgic feelings: it imitates the box of a MiniDisc, a format that is definitely dead and buried. As far as what is inside “Volume On”, the album brings together not only the six songs from the first EP and a few unreleased pieces—like the chill-wave swallowed up by keyboards of “O Seizing that Day O”, performed by Luke Jenner of The Rapture– but also various remixes that artists like Memory Tapes have dedicated to them (the latter has reinterpreted “Real Life”), without the need to profane the melodic essence of the original takes. Keeping this in mind, one thing is clear: this isn’t an ordinary debut album—we’ll have to wait until the first semester of 2011 for that—but rather an appetiser so that people will know that the band exists on the other side of the Atlantic.
Both instrumentally – “Three Tree” or “Reinfo”, the song that starts the album, could be perfect music for cruises around the Caribbean for elderly people with a strong libido (what we know of as “dirty old men”) –and vocally– “S.A.W.” abuses the same voice filters as Animal Collective– Tanlines reminds us of many things that we’ve heard before. For example, “Policy of Trust” seems like a camouflaged homage to Depeche Mode, oozing the juices of Yeasayer, as does “Bees”, which sounds like an El Guincho song—by the way, Tanlines already remixed his “Kalise” last year. And that’s not all. Can anybody resist that upbeat dance whirlwind that is “New Flowers” or the always-welcome voice of Glasser on the Balearic “Z”? They leave us wanting more, of course, and it is early to venture a guess about what is to come. In a few months we’ll be able to see whether this well-chosen rehash of songs acting as a debut for newcomers to Tanlines has come from a burst of inspiration or if the formula is exhausted. For now, they seem promising.
Sergio del Amo
Tanlines - Real Life