Long ago, in a land far off in the depths of Norfolk, VA, there was a seasoned veteran of alt-indie-rock by the name of David Elkins. Best known for being the front man of Mae, Elkins packed his bags when Mae had run its course and moved to Nashville to focus on various musical ventures. As of late, he’s been focusing on his solo project, Schematic, along with a tastefully done and emotive debut LP, Color (n.) Inside the Lines.
The record showcases many experimental sounds for Elkins throughout the 14 tracks. It starts off with the melodic up-tempo song, “Outside,” followed by the much darker and haunting “Senseless Charades,” a song you might hear from more intricate outfits like Mew or Radiohead. Still present are the piano-driven rock tunes Mae fans will be familiar with, present in songs like “I am the Car” and “Stand.” The progressive-infused “Where’s The Soul” plays with psychedelic beats, and it lets the listener lose themselves in its array of sound. Heavier riffs and distorted guitar solos along with sharp lyrics show up in “Stockholder’s Meeting.”
On opposite ends of the spectrum, we get songs like “All the Birds are Singing” and “Are You Man Enough?” which made me forget I was listening to an indie record. It could easily fit in with the catchy, synth-pop sing-a-longs on the radio. The album closes with the six-minute “Fluorescent,” an epic rock anthem that fuses the piano and violin with the already present full ensemble.
Though some aspects are a bit heavier than Elkins’s previous endeavors, the ambiance of the LP still contains the ever-so-soothing voice that makes one get lost in a rock and roll storybook world. Elkins may be treading new ground with this project and the umbrella it falls under, but the schematic for this new adventure is anything but mundane.