TENDER are a duo made up of producers James Cullen and Dan Cobb, two London-native flatmates tired of the repetitive and commercialized nature of popular music groups. In 2015, they formed the band in order to (at least one would assume), like many other indie acts, combat what some may call an epidemic of unoriginal music with a new and unique sound. On Modern Addiction, they do not do that.
The album’s sound is clean, layered, and well-produced – however, it doesn’t exactly have what could be called a “new” sound. There are some unique tracks here and there, such as “Machine” (very danceable), and “Erode,” but unfortunately a greater majority of the songs are difficult to tell apart and, as a result, melt together to form a forgettable mess. The vocals do not help with this issue either – not only do they sound like an aspiring ASMR YouTube star, they’re low in range, uniform, and carry a sound that calls back too many memories of other synth pop vocal styles. One might refer to it as “reverb porn.”
Negative comments aside, it’s not as though TENDER totally dropped the ball here. They still delivered a polished product with sultry, rolling synths that often seem to dance with the vocals as they flow on. Sometimes they’re not fully on target with the sensual yet detached sound that the album is shooting for, but when you remember that this is the duo’s full-length debut, it may just make you more excited for what they may grow to become down the road.
Recommended If You Like: Glass Animals, Sylvan Esso, Phantogram
Recommended Tracks: 2 (Nadir), 5 (Erode), 7 (Machine)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Sam Blaufuss on 12/15/2017