Listen to line leader's psychedelic new LP Houses of Water - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Line Leader | photo by Kayla McCaney | courtesy of the artist

Houses of Water is the new full-length release from local experimental rock group line leader. The album, which Drexel University’s MAD Dragon Music Group put out today, features the singles “Year of the Rocket” and “Evening Song” that the band released last month, along with ten other adventurous new tracks. According to guitarist Adam Mikhail, “all of these songs are the result of intensive planning and sudden, happy accidents.”

line leader experiment with unusual shapes and sizes on Houses of Water, and the results are bolder than the heavy, grunge-influenced WILT from 2017. Electric guitars and keyboards scream and squelch on top of taut drum and bass grooves, and sometimes high violins and looping samples hover just above the surface. Several of the album’s most ambitious songs stretch out to over five minutes, but the acoustic cut “Omw” lasts only fifty seconds.

The surreal places to which the band travels on Houses of Water offer plenty of surprises, including moments of humor and vulnerability. The opening of “Rooftop Cartoon” finds singer Sean Clark surveying the daydreams and daily routines of young people around him, mythologizing about a “small-town waitress in a ambulance; two strangers on a rooftop singing words long forgotten.”  Later, the track dissolves into a patchwork of chirping distortion and unintelligible dialogue. “Great Valley Flyer”, named after a SEPTA train route, begins with a whimsical instrumental depiction of an express train ride, complete with rumbles, screeches, and blaring horns. Clark has said that while working on the album the band was thinking about “the temporal nature of  relationships, trying to make a real home out of something seems so fluid and ever-changing.”

Houses of Water is out now on MAD Dragon. line leader will host an album release show at The Meadow in West Philadelphia on Friday night at 8 p.m.

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