Julian Lynch has always sort of hinted at vibe with his album titles. Despite the inherent hush of his sound, Mare move gracefully forward over the soft ground of Lynch’s not-quite-folk leanings. Terra did indeed feel slightly more grounded, if still opaque, than its predecessor. But Lines has no inherent boundaries. There’s somehow a meticulous attention to pristine detail and a completely obscured sound all at once. The echoed finger-picking of the title track is overtaken by skittering keyboards. Lynch’s fragile voice is undone by the thump and blip of sounds behind it on “Horse Chestnut”. Eight-plus-minute closer “Shadow” groans with low, buzzing horns and wahhed-out guitars. Each sound in the song doesn’t push the vocals out of the way so much as it politely usurps the focus. But for all this sonic tumult, Lines is a sweet blur of sound. It’s got thick layers of texture to get lost in, even if it truly is about getting lost, in that it’s hard to tell what you’ll find in the way of emotional expression here. What Lines means, what it wants to say, is still buried in all those noises, but luckily the noises themselves have enough charm to carry the day.
// Notes from the Road
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