Tan Sleeve – Fall Love EP

Tan Sleeve
Fall Love EP

The hardest reviews for me to write are exactly like this one. Tan Sleeve’s members are clearly good musicians, fine songwriters, and passionate about their music – but it’s music that is just not my style. So, how to present this album to people who would likely be interested in this? That’s the problem I face, because I know there are plenty of music fans out there who would find Fall Love right up their alley. My other dilemma is I don’t know exactly who those people are-fans of 60s and 70s folk-pop perhaps or maybe even soft rock. Regardless, the image that keeps popping into my mind when looking at this album cover and listening to the four songs here is of Simon & Garfunkel (or maybe even Hall & Oates, but let’s not go there).
The duo known as Tan Sleeve apparently has a 20-year history making music together in a variety of incarnations. The group is Steve Barry (piano, bass, percussion) and Lane Steinberg (guitars, percussion), and they both share singing duties. Their music is easy on the ears: soft, pleasant, and smooth. Barry and Steinberg work well together, blending their voices and instruments into sweet songs.
The four tracks here only seem to give a glimpse into what these guys are about. The title track is first and is largely piano-based, making me think of a Billy Joel ballad. There are other instruments here of course, some gentle strumming and light percussion that is almost like a whisper. The vocals are full of yearning, and Barry and Steinberg sort of play off each other’s voices. “Last Time I Checked” is almost more of the same, but more upbeat with an almost velvety quality. The third track, “It Doesn’t Snow in New York Anymore,” is easily my favorite on Fall Love. This song is more folk guitar based and has a nice melody that is easy to sing along with. To further my Simon & Garfunkel comparison, Tan Sleeve even throws some “la, la, la’s” into the middle of the song. The final track, “Take a Piece While it Lasts,” is very much in the same folk vein with some clapping peppered throughout. This song evokes an open mic night or coffee shop house band that provides amiable background music.
Fall Love is a tidy little package of uncomplicated tunes. They are a little bit folk, a little bit piano ballad, and a lot of melody. If you’re into the whole retro thing or you enjoy easy-listening lounge type music, than check out Tan Sleeve. They definitely bring me back to days gone by, I’m just not sure if they are days I’m personally interested in visiting repeatedly.