As humanity moves into the halfway point of 2021, we are collectively beginning to see what the pandemic hath wrought creatively for so many artists who were grounded, and forced to stay in one place, undoubtedly the first time for many of them. Artists creative works resulting in the pandemic, are now seeing the light of day in 2021.
Toronto’s Roan Bateman was no different, using the time to revisit his long-running Dark Bird project. Previous releases were mostly one-man, home-recording projects, but with Out Of Line Bateman opted initially to put a band together for the first time in thirteen years. However, as the project moved forward, Bateman wound up performing a good amount of the instrumentation himself, aided by Elyn Sof, Michelle Breslin, and Stephen Keeping, Out Of Line comes across as a spacey, airy affair.
And It All Ends Well subtle noises and guitar strums ever so lightly bring the record into aural attention. The result is a melodic, 60s style psych approach, complete with swirling noises and an electric jug (?!?) thrown in the mix for good measure. Title track Out Of Line introduces itself with a pop-ier approach, a bouncy jangle that’s met with soaring vocals. Stranger adds an ever so slight thump to the music with a synth, a touch of foreboding, as some electric guitar is introduced.
Bateman clearly has an ear for all sorts of sounds and instrumentation as they’re all layered quite effectively. I hear all psychedelic/60s-style pop, met with an array of synths and various other sounds. The whole record is very spacey, very light feeling.
Out Of Line should satisfy the sonic palette of fans of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spaceman 3, or early Pink Floyd…
Minefield moves along briskly enough with an ever-so-slight industiral-ish thump on the downbeat, while With You brings the guitar back to melodically dance with Bateman’s elegant, soaring vocals. The Ghost is one of the more memorable cuts, as the main guitar part of the song is quite catchy, and the track evokes a sense of lost, while moving along at a decent pace.
This Is It brings proceeding to a close, with the most ‘rock’ song on the record. Some actual riffage is introduced, if only a bit, into Bateman‘s spacey songcraft. A good record closer, and a nice eye-opener letting the listener think we will not hear any amplified guitar on the record.
While not necessarily a record one might play while drinking with friends after work to blow off steam, Out Of Line is a good record, commendable for Bateman’s songwriting skills, and execution to say nothing of his prowess as a multi-instrumentalist. Dark Bird’s Out Of Line should satisfy the sonic palette of fans of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spaceman 3, or early Pink Floyd.
Scribed by: Martin Williams