Saturday was a hot and steamy day. But I didn’t really feel it that much until Tanlines took the stage at Bruar Falls around 11 pm. Ok, that’s bullshit. The sun was so hot I got tanlines on my back, and i’m still burned, from biking back from Fort Tilden. But back to the band.
Tanlines competently mix electronic beats, drum pad strikes and guitar to make a racket that is both danceable and interesting. We all know that a lot of dance music is fun and nothing more. But Tanlines try to be complicated- changing rhythms, vocals when you least expect them, etc. When a band is trying to vary their sound- as they all should- not all songs will be perfect. And i’m a big fan of that, it means the musicians are really serious about their music. They don’t just want to make people dance, they want their music to be diverse. And that’s what Tanlines is doing. While some of their songs, Bejan in particular, are completely spot-on, other newer tracks are a work in progress. Rather than churn out the same song over and over, they’re taking chances.
Eric Emm croons a little on a few songs. My friend thinks the band sounds like Sting when he sings. I think that’s more funny than accurate. What she’s really saying is that with Emm’s vocals comes a certain warmth, or sentimentality, that is often absent in straight dance-y electronic music.
Tanlines are attempting to chart a territory that’s wholly their own. And they’re playing some upcoming shows- check them out for a good time. But thankfully, not blind fun.
Click here for live dates, a new video by the band and info about a Tanlines side project.