I receive hundreds of promos for solo projects every year. Some stand out, while others do not. One that has recently grabbed my attention is a project called Breaths. The new album “Lined in Silver” released on March 26th, and it has me coming back for more pretty often.
Breaths is a one-man project from Jason Roberts of Virginia, USA. He seems to play everything on this record, which would mostly be guitars, bass, and drums. That said, he plays admirable and competently to the point where you might think a full band is involved.
He plays music that lands squarely in the mysterious doomgaze genre. This subgenre is where several styles intersect, primarily shoegaze and doom metal. That means the music uses high-strung, emotional guitars right alongside lumbering, dark riffs. There also seems to be elements of alternative and post-hardcore here, utilizing some very raw harsh vox along with some tender, even delicate clean vocals. This is less like Gothic doom and more like the raw intersection of two (or more) very emotional genres.
The album has lots of atmosphere, provided mainly by the shoegaze effect. This makes everything feel eerie and even foreboding. Add to that the dark riffing and energetic drive, and you will start to understand how everything fits together here. Jason’s vocals are especially a highlight, in my eyes, because of his innocent style of clean vox that are greatly contrasted up against the searing, potent harsh vocals. With all of these layers going on, the music just seems to come together so well.
One thing that should be mentioned is the wonderful lyrical content. As dark and vicious as the music can seem, the lyrics are actually full of light and dreams of unity, love, and gratitude. A good example of this is the title track, which seems to be a song written to Jason’s daughter as he puts her to sleep. If you are a father, you know the rush of feelings and love that can come in those moments, and I think this song captures it well, right alongside wishes for a better world at large.
“Lined in Silver” has eight tracks and clocks in around 50 minutes in length. All of the tracks are good, and some of them are even fantastic. The aforementioned title track is the opener, and it is a beauty with a great riff and superb vocal melodies. Another great one is “A Year on Fire” which is a driving, heavy track with almost 100% harsh vox. You know, the first time I heard it, I was taken aback, but I love it more every time I hear it. “The Forgotten Ones” is actually the heaviest, though, at least in part of its runtime. It has a spacey atmosphere, but has some portions that hit extra hard.
My favorites are “The Weight and the Bellows”, “Like Wires”, “In Nightmares”, and “In Repose”. “The Weight and the Bellows” is an atmospheric track with plenty of edge playing in the shoegaze-y shadows. It is slow-paced overall, really bringing out the doom elements. “Like Wires” is the single, and it is a good choice to represent the album. It has a great chorus and some powerful musing riffs in the second half.
“In Nightmares” is probably the most interesting track on the record. It is a twelve-minute, hazy journey with luscious ambient moments that hang satisfyingly, like clouds of darkness and gloom. This is a great track to hear with headphones. “In Repose” is the closer, and it is also quite ambient. It has this post-rock vibe to it with the obligatory crescendo near the end, but my favorite part is the quiet vocal hook that Jason layers with gravy and feeling in the first half.
“Lined in Silver” is a great album, one that improves with time. I love the mix of high-strung emotion with dark and passionate feelings, and I love how each song interacts so perfectly with the other. Furthermore, this album reminds me of some of the alternative and post-hardcore albums of my youth, and so the nostalgia is strong. Overall, I’m really enjoying this.
Find Breaths online: