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Volume On

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Album Review

This handy, amusingly titled compilation from Brooklyn-based electro-tropicalia meisters Tanlines conveniently collects all of the duo's output to date — the six-track Settings EP, the digital-only "Real Life" single, 2008's "New Flowers" 12", and several other stray tracks that have trickled out onto the internet — and adds a few additional new songs and remixes; all of its contents, incidentally, appearing here for the first time on CD (and if that format should seem woefully anachronistic, the MiniDisc pictured on the cover ought to put things in perspective). Somewhat less handily, Volume On was only released in Europe. Those who do have access to it may find the collection's comprehensiveness to be something of a mixed blessing: Settings was a slightly monotonous-feeling (albeit highly likable) release to begin with, and encountering three times as much material in one place — including seven assorted reworkings of Settings cuts — hardly helps matters. There's certainly plenty that's worth hearing among the additional material — in particular the delightfully cheery "O Seizing the Day O," which benefits from unusually highlighted vocals, courtesy of the Rapture's Luke Jenner, and Memory Tapes' characteristically melodic tweak of the nigh-irresistible "Real Life" — but there's nothing (aside from a surprisingly effective acoustic reading of the latter song) which strays far from the well-established Tanlines template: easy-thumping synth-disco grooves, burbling Caribbean-flecked percussion, and Eric Emm's casually earnest vocal interjections. To their credit, the duo definitely know how to play to their strengths, and they are awfully good at what they do. So even if two discs worth of Tanlines (really, this would have almost fit onto a single disc — easily so if not for the lavishly extended "Z" remix that closes the set — but it's probably just as well to have it broken into more manageable chunks) may be more than most listeners need in a single sitting, they'll be glad to know they're not missing out on any of that excellence. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi


Born: 2008 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Riding the line between Battles' proggy electro jams and Vampire Weekend’s tropical pop, Brooklyn duo Tanlines started as a remix project by Eric Emm (Don Caballero, Storm & Stress, Brothers) and Jesse Cohen (Professor Murder) that involved friends singing over their music. It evolved quickly into a band, with Emm taking the frontman role and singing for the majority of their debut EP, Settings, which was released in March of 2010 on True Panther. After returning from a European tour supporting the...
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Volume On, Tanlines
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