Allan Rayman - Roadhouse 01
You may have never heard of Allan Rayman, and for better or worse that is the point. The Toronto native has kept his personal life shrouded in mystery forgoing the usual Instagram posts Twitter rants allowing the music to speak for itself. This record Roadhouse 01 is no different in its mysterious rollout and somewhat surprising sound. After listening to the first track, the second one "December" featuring Adria Kain seems to come out of nowhere with it's funky R&B style. It isn't in line with the brooding tone set with the intro, and just goes to show you how versatile Rayman is. While his earlier albums focused more on hip-hop beats as their base this record leaves that behind and is much more rock and blues centric. You'll hear shredding guitars and gritty bass lines throughout the album which give the record this very dirty feel. The only problem is that the record doesn't go all in with the newer sound, it sometimes manages to sneak back to the more R&B side of things never letting you predict where the next rack might go. "Jim's Story" this plunky almost folksy track sticks out of no where, makes no real impact and is gone almost as fast as it appears. Rayman also sings with this somewhat mumbled voice making it damn near impossible to understand what He is saying on a first listen, it is really distracting when you have to strain to hear what is going on.
That may be one of the weakest parts of the record, just how unintelligible it really is. However the sense of loneliness on Roadhouse 01 really is palpable. The Blues tones help to achieve this vibe, but throughout you can really feel just how isolated Rayman is. He always is looking for answers for why people are leaving him, but those answers never seem to come. The synth infused "13" is one of the best tracks on the album and feels like an edgier version of early tracks from The Police. There are so many things to like about this record, but there are more than a few that just don't make any sense at all. It really seems like this is the growing pain of Rayman discovering his true sound. He has done R&B and now it is time to try Rock while searching for that eventual final destination. I have no doubt that with his skillset Rayman will eventually find the sound that best represents him, but this just is not it quite yet. Roadhouse 01 is by no means a bad record, it simply does not live up to the potential that it has. Still the record has this charm and connectivity that you cannot help but find endearing, give it a shot and see what you think.
7.5 out of 10