Out Lines @ Òran Mór, Glasgow, 5 Nov

The Twilight Sad's James Graham, Kathryn Joseph and Marcus Mackay have hit on something pretty special with Out Lines, and their debut performance makes for a joyous occasion

Live Review by Harry Harris | 06 Nov 2017

Out Lines is a coming together of three Glasgow musicians, the album Conflats a commission from Glasgow art-hub and community project Platform, and so it seems fitting that as the record launches, all of Glasgow should come out to celebrate. That's what Òran Mór feels like anyway, on what is, for quite a dark record, a real joyous occasion. 

Where the melancholy of Conflats broods and lingers in a very expressive, expansive kind of way, the trio – Kathryn Joseph on harmonium and piano, Marcus Mackay on drums (and occasionally harmonium), and James Graham singing (and playing a synth on one song, much to his and the audience's delight) – are like bottled lightning in a live setting. 

A minor technical glitch – a problem with Graham's monitors – scuppers what probably would have been a seamless, dramatic introduction of Buried Guns but it does go some way to easing any pre-game nerves. The crowd were already on side, and even moreso after that start. When the issues are sorted, we begin to see just what kind of band Out Lines are – heavy, risk-taking, and hypnotic, Graham and Joseph's vocals finding a beautiful accord despite their sonic differences.

They really kick into gear on There is a Saved Place, Joseph hollering her refrain into the microphone while tapping out an increasingly trance-like piano rhythm. The song becomes a real cacophony, with Graham laying a spoken word piece on top. When the song ends, and once we've all checked our ears are still working, Graham jokes about ripping off Aidan Moffat, who had jumped up on stage earlier in the night as part of RM Hubbert's support slot. There's definitely a shared DNA between the two, which is no bad thing. 

Given the record's brevity – just seven tracks – it's unsurprising that the trio have a few other things planned to give people their money's worth. Joseph sings lead vocals on The Twilight Sad's It Never Was the Same, while Graham returns the favour on Joseph's The Why What, Baby?, and then, in a sentence we'd have bet good money on never writing prior to this gig, they perform a genuinely pretty brilliant industrial metal version of ABBA's Lay All Your Love on Mewithout a hint of irony. More of that, please, and just more from this band in general – they've hit upon something really special.