I first got into The New Lines 'cause drummer Davis White is in Lorelei. And that's odd 'cause nothing from The New Lines sounds like any of Lorelei's stuff. The New Lines make music that walks an odd tightrope between the sort of thing that The Durutti Column did -- but with vocals, like the tracks on The Guitar and Other Machines (1987) -- and what could best be termed chamber rock like that from Sixties outfits like The Left Banke and The Zombies. There's some real tension here -- though it's tension as subtle as the music itself -- between those myriad influences. The outcome of that struggle is music that is sublime, quietly affecting, and simultaneously easy to grasp and a bit obtuse; the title of the EP is Schismogenesis after all.
It takes real skill to make music that aims high but doesn't alienate listeners. The 4 new songs on Schismogenesis are some of the best yet from The New Lines. This band keeps getting better and better which is a real compliment considering how good they've been all along.
Opener "a short film about johan strauss ii" imagines a world where The Magnetic Fields are back in time, trying to get a song on the charts next to buddies The Beau Brummels. It's a quaint, though thoroughly catchy, piece of work. And it's one of the best things this band has recorded so far.
"lonely conjurer" is Morrissey by way of a Stereolab melodic figure, while "a healer is born" is expansive and full of interesting new textures.
The closer, "exquisite corpse", uses a Cocteau Twins-like guitar figure, some heavier drum beats from Lorelei's Davis White, and a slightly sinister bass-line to produce a track that somehow recalls both Ride and The Silver Apples, for lack of better comparisons.
The New Lines make music that sounds fresh and ancient at the same time. As the tunes unfurl seemingly effortlessly, a listener is enveloped in this sound. And it's a mark of the band's strengths that they already have such a distinctive sound.
Schismogenesis b The New Lines is available via the link below. Follow the band on their official Facebook page.