TRUE PANTHER SOUNDS
New York electro-pop duo Tanlines had all kinds of fun in the weeks leading up to the release of their sophomore album Highlights, including overhauling their website into a clever, interactive Netflix parody, and offering an advanced stream of their new music by way of a dial-in teleconference. Though the two amusing stunts lacked cohesion and, seemingly, purpose (who wants to listen to music through a speakerphone anyway?), they stood out as charming and inventive. If only the album followed suit. Instead, Tanlines follow the rulebook so closely on Highlights that the results are safe, forgettable, and utterly benign. Yes, the album’s ten tracks are catchy and technically hook-laden (best tracks including lead single “Slipping Away” and “Bad Situations”), but in a way that doesn’t feel earned—the melodies both predictable and toothless. There’s certainly nothing to hate here, but the total absence of risk makes the whole affair maddeningly average. At times Highlights is lighthearted fun, but overall a much worse F-word comes to mind: fine.