Nostalgia in music can be a tricky thing. In most cases, a balance is sought somewhere between the reverence an artist has for a certain bygone era or style and their ability to fit that into a modern context. Greeen Linez���the duo of Tokyo-based producer A Taut Line and Chris Greenberg of indie-lounge outfit Hong Kong in the '60s—is not bashful about its love for cheeseball jazz and new-age spiced muzak on Things That Fade, the group's debut LP (which follows the self-titled EP the pair dropped along the same lines last year). Complete with the occasional nods to '90s dance music, the album hits on a few worthwhile combinations, but largely proves exhausting in its unrelenting retro indulgences.
Things That Fade starts off on a good foot with the opening "March 12th Street," a track which somehow fits dark and stoney jazz, G-funk, and a bit of LA boogie into a nicely polished package. From there, Greeen Linez continues to churn up similarly glossy pieces of downtempo, focusing on its main point of inspiration: the kind of unoffensive instrumental jazz and synth-based soundtrack music which was all too easy to find in the late '70s and on through the '80s. Thankfully, the pair doesn't leave this sound entirely untouched, adding hints of Dam-Funk style smoothness and heavier, more modern, snare-focused drum programming. But, for better or worse, Greeen Linez does just a bit too good of a job emulating its nostalgic musical obsessions, and it can be hard to remember at times that you're listening to a record that was made in 2012.
At one point, the pair ups the energy with a double dose of house-tempoed outings, "Fantasy Glide" and "Cubic Mentality," the first of which produces one of the LP's best moments. The sliding groove and airy synths the tune offers renders "Fantasy Glide" an appropriate title, but the thick bass and inescapable melodies are what really make the song work, landing the production somewhere along the lines of a more synth-based and shiny Metro Area. The following "Cubic Mentality" doesn't find a way to float with the same enticing air though, and largely marks the point of the record where the novelty begins to wear thin. If Things That Fade had ended with "Fantasy Glide," a really fun and disarmingly inviting EP may have resulted, but almost an hour's worth of the duo's smooth stylings proves to be just too much.
To their credit, the members of Greeen Linez show they are capable of exceptional production value on this debut and the pair surely accomplished what they set out to do, touching on some decent ideas and a few tracks that could largely stand on their own. Unfortunately, the duo's unwavering dedication to an often cringe-worthy section of the musical past just isn't the easiest thing to stomach.