Willamette Week: Tango Alpha Tango makes exactly the kind of rock ’n' roll I can get behind; it’s sweeping, dramatic and unapologetically evil at the most surprising of moments. Formed from one half of the recently disbanded Carolines (the other half of which went on to create Deepest Darkest), Tango Alpha Tango tempers its pop leanings with an aggressiveness that adds a pleasant layer of grime beneath the shine of the group’s top-notch production and ass-tight songwriting. What comes out of this aesthetic pairing is gorgeous and engaging in a way that fully exploits this unity of opposites.
The Portland Mercury: After the Carolines split a couple years ago, Nathan and Aaron Trueb formed Tango Alpha Tango, while the remaining members teamed up with Derby's Nat Johnson to form Deepest Darkest. Both bands are logical extensions of the Carolines' unpretentious, melodic pop. Deepest Darkest go for shiny, sheen-y, radio-friendly, classicist rock, with every note carefully in place and every timbre in perfect relief. As generic as that could seem, the songs are mighty fine, and the relaxed, sun-faded vibe is a comfortable fit. Tango Alpha Tango have a bit more urgency to their sound, and cultivate a delicate, damaged beauty; the songs are either folkier and more pointed, or trashier and glammier—more suited for the bedroom than Deepest Darkest's convertible-with-the-top-down groove. It's a genuine pleasure, and no slight against what came before, that both bands are better than the Carolines ever were, and sure, it's not exactly fair, or necessary, to pit the two against the past or each other—but when both share the bill, comparisons are inevitable.
Seattle Weekly: You could argue that Tango Alpha Tango's sound is the most seductive thing to come out of Portland since Elliott Smith crooned, "Sexy energy makes me charming when I sing." But instead of bated breath and acoustic guitars, Tango relies on slinking bass lines and lyrics so enticing they feel like they're being whispered in your ear during a slow dance. Songs like "Twelve Step" showcase the band's ability to combine their swagger and stealth with just enough California-sunshine pop to keep the audience gently swaying along with them. And after a string of shows at Portland's famed Doug Fir Lounge, Tango Alpha Tango is ready to hit the road and bring the sexiness straight to you.
Portland Mercury: Tango Alpha Tango has a masterful grip on a huge array of musical styles. Tango's latest release, a self-titled EP that has the scope of a full-length, is an incredibly impressive piece of work that shows the band's ease in laying down thick slabs of heavy rock alongside addictive radio-pop gems and laidback folky numbers. Tango Alpha Tango is a band that seems capable of just about anything.
The new, self-titled release from Portland band Tango Alpha Tango sits in that uncomfortable place between EP and full-length—it runs seven songs, just under half an hour—but everything else about the record fits perfectly. Starting with the laidback country swoon of "Oh Mama," the quartet then launches into a slow-building motorik guitar riff in "Mona Lisa's Death." Elsewhere, the band continues
that expert and surprising balance of folk noir and space rock, even finding room for a glossy pop chorus in "Give of the Summer." There isn't a single wrong move on Tango Alpha Tango; "This City" rears an angry, stoner blues riff in the middle of a tightly knotted funk strut, and as clunky as that sounds, it works brilliantly. On record, Tango Alpha Tango continues to make some confoundingly good work, following up 2008's Rebel Sons of Cowboys with a collection of adventurous and admirable rock and roll. NED LANNAMANN, Portland Mercury