Out Lines is a new band from Kathryn Joseph, James Graham of The Twilight Sad, and producer Marcus Mackay. Their debut Conflats has grown out of conversations with service users of Glasgow community space Platform, giving it a hard-won human weight. These stories are accompanied by dark electronic indie-folk. On Rock Action.
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Rock Action is releasing the build-a-bear of melancholy indie pop bands here, or so you’d think -- with Twilight Sad members Kathryn Joseph and James Graham joining forces with Marcus Mackay, it seems all but done as a deal. Inspired by “conversations about Platform” -- an arts space in Glasgow -- they craft a record that veers slightly off of the kilter of their old band, implementing more full-bodied electronics, groaning chords and metallic beats.
Like Twilight Sad records, they write as if the album were one burdensome song, with the accordion moan of “Buried Guns” moving seamlessly through into “Our Beloved Dead”. This doesn’t mean it all takes the same sonic route; trembling piano cinematics drive the fireplace crackle of “There Is a Saved Place”, coupled with the quiet ballad “The Left Behind”, which bridges their new sound back to the old. As always, though, it feels like one long contemplation: a duet brooding their way through an unsettled storm.
It’s rare we hear them trying on these kind of timbres, and the electronic elements of ‘Conflats’ go hard: the beats sound like industrial music done with the lights on, contemplating shimmering, melodic songs. It’s done best on the final track “These Three Desire Lines”, which sounds like a misshapen power ballad with oversized drums. Folksy and futurist, it's not what you'd expect, but it doesn't sound unfamiliar either.
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