A short list of artists for whom Tanlines have provided remix work -- El Guincho, the Tough Alliance, Memory Tapes -- gives an almost too-perfect snapshot of the stylistic terrain this Brooklyn duo traverses. Along with their True Panther labelmates Delorean, these acts are at the forefront of a particular late-2000s approach to electronic music that's decidedly poppy and danceable but without the formal rigidity of dance-pop proper, featuring plush, treble-heavy synths, thickly burbling percussion, and warmly layered, tropical-flavored grooves. That's a fairly straight-ahead description of what you can expect to find on Settings, a highly enjoyable release that nevertheless tends to blend into its surroundings (both aurally and stylistically) rather than asserting its individuality. The clearest standouts, or at least the most memorable moments, come with "Real Life" and "Policy of Trust," both enhanced (though not exactly dominated) by Eric Emm's appealingly low-key vocals, which ruminate on life's unknowable roads ("For a minute I was lost/I looked away/My destination was unknown") and make sideways nods to Depeche Mode. The third vocal cut, "Bees," is less melodically engaging, flirting with slightly more aggressive, calypsonian rhythm, while the closing "Z" is a lovely, more electro-leaning showcase for the glassy, wordless vocals of labelmate Glasser. At six songs and 24 minutes, Settings comes off as a reasonably generous EP, not least because it seems like about the limit for what these guys are able to accomplish without in some way broadening the parameters of what they do -- any longer and its commendable cohesiveness might start to seem more tiresome. A true full-length effort from these two could be a very appealing prospect; they might just have to vary up their portfolio a bit to pull it off.
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AllMusic Review by K. Ross Hoffman