Like any great artist on the rise, Archy Marshall’s life is moving fast. There’s a lot to catch up on, after 2017’s sprawling masterpiece, The OOZ, broke through amid Mercury Prize nominations and mind-blowing media plaudits. Unlike that record, Man Alive! doesn’t aim to present any kind of narrative thread, or Brexit-era state-of-the-nation address, just a collection of snapshots and stories, artfully sequenced into a dazzlingly coherent whole.
Tanlines — singer/guitarist Eric Emm and multi-instrumentalist Jesse Cohen will release their sophomore album, Highlights, on May 19th, 2015. Produced by the band and Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, Highlights began in a basement in Pittsburgh and ended in a church in Brooklyn. It trades world music sounds (as heard through YouTube) for a more alive, realized approach, the result of Emm and Cohen wanting to break from their ‘two guys, one screen’ writing style. The transition came suddenly: when they sat down to write Highlights in Emm’s childhood home in Pittsburgh, their computer blew up, quite literally, “with a burst of sparks and clouds of smoke. Whatever had just happened felt like some kind of omen,” says Emm.
Stranded without the samples and sounds that had previously defined their musical palette, they spent the rest of the week in Pittsburgh writing songs the old-fashioned way with a guitar and drums. They found themselves falling back on facility they’d gained with their instruments over the previous two years of touring, and an alternative, simpler process evolved, one that set the tone for Highlights immediately.