The Roseline hail from Lawrence, KS and are the band that singer/songwriter Colin Halliburton gathers around his songs in order to fully realise and bring them to life. He’s done just that on GOOD/GRIEF, an album written in response to the death of his best friend (and keyboardist/musical co-conspirator in The Roseline), as well as the loss of his mother-in-law to suicide.
Across ten songs, the album finds both wide open spaces and intimate dark corners as Halliburton reflects on friends and family, muses on past shared experiences and contemplating his place in life. The soundtrack to his songs are distinctly modern Americana, a blurry-framed amalgam of country and folk with sweet and heady choruses that pull heavy on nostalgia and swelling melodies. ‘Quartz or Digital‘ possesses one of those choruses. Elsewhere there’s a polished indie/psych rock sheen applied to the songs. ‘Ghost Writer‘ could be a collaboration between The War On Drugs and Ryan Adams while the guitars get more distorted and the urgency stakes are upped into garage rock/power pop territory on songs such as Inside Out. ‘Bilirubin‘ brings to mind Nilsson’s version of Fred Neil’s ‘Everybody’s Talkin” with its gentle, rolling melodies and bittersweet lyrics. ‘Counting Sheep‘ is an international cousin to the sounds of Australia’s Andy Golledge, filtered through the swing and soul of The Band.
The instrumental balance is one of the things that appeal to our ears on this album. The way the rhythm section sits right in the pocket with just the amount of depth and detail and never outplaying their role as anchors and drivers in the songs. The accents are provided by wonderful keys (Heidi Gluck/Dan Loftus) and lap steel (Mike Stover) that shimmer and sparkle in all the right places – in perfect simpatico with Halliburton’s thoughts and reflections.
So all round this is a really strong album from The Roseline, one that’s something of a mood record in the way it takes the listener into a singular world of catchy, melancholic country rock that rewards by continuing to reveal itself on repeated listens.