Anyone who is involved in the world of music, be it a musician, an artist, a production manager or a writer, can only be painfully aware of the disruption caused by COVID. Would it be too much to spend the past twelve months working on a concept record about that exact sensation? Jason Roberts, under the name of Breaths, clearly thinks so. His debut, Lined in Silver, has been produced as a way for Roberts to channel his fears and anxieties surrounding the global pandemic through music.
Even though the subject matter might be a bit on the nose, you cannot take away from how well crafted the record is. Grandiose riffs and thundering drum beats act as the foundation of the record, a solid core upon which to build a narrative. That being said, there are certain tracks where it feels like some of the fat could have been trimmed from the edges. By the time we get to the 12 minute epic of ‘In Nightmares’, 26 minutes have already passed, not all of them equally enchanting. When Breaths channels the more doomy elements of its music, with the wrung-out guitar riffs and the heavier vocal style, it really does embody the stasis and nausea of being in lockdown. But when the clean vocals come in, it feels like a complete momentum shift and takes away from any tension that has previously been built up with the heavier side of the project’s music.
‘In Nightmares’ is a standout of the eight-track record, where Roberts really hits his stride, and some of the lyrical content throughout the record definitely captures what many of us would have been feeling over the last year. However, there is something with Lined in Silver which slightly misses the mark. Whether it’s the pure density of the record’s length, or that feeling of disconnecting with the subject due to fatigue, it is hard to put a finger on. Still, an interesting first effort nonetheless, and we hope to hear Breaths develop and blossom as our conditions change from the claustrophobic.
Lined in Silver is out on March 26th and can be ordered here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck