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Imaginary Lines by Roger Marshall


Imaginary Lines is my second project, following on from Over There, with Jono Lonie. Again it was recorded at Earwig studios, live on 2-inch analogue tape. It was done over the first 6 months of 2013. Jono is playing electric mandolin on some songs - sounding like amazing electric guitar (outro of Shade of a Light). Bede came in late in the day and added delightful keyboard flourishes, especially Don't Leave. Christelle's mournful harmonica is lovely, especially outro of Children in the Rain. Christelle was French and vanished from New Zealand. Wherever you are thank you! I am also most grateful to others: Kerry and Gordon for drums and Murray on keys.

The song themes are mixed. City City is a gripe of the wanton destruction of old buildings for carparks and ghastly high-rise. Below is a poster for a gig in Beijing at the Jiang Jin Jiu bar. The bar was in an old hutong, characteristic old housing in Beijing, mostly demolished. The destruction wrought by us on other creatures is the topic of Man. My roots lie in London where lies The Imaginary Line. Valerie is a true story - my old mate Pete now in Canberra, but I have no idea about Valerie herself.

NZ Musician review of "Imaginary Lines" by Sam Carswell
Whereas previous efforts have seen him rooted quite firmly in a folk/Americana style, Roger Marshall's fourth recording is a different beast. For one the band's changed, there's drums now and the mandolins and guitars have gone electric. At the start of the opener, Children in the Rain, we even hear the mandolin used to create an almost synthetic effect. Recorded to tape at Earwig Studios by Jono Lonie, the result of this experimentation is interesting but mixed. At points the new band and style fits the songs brilliantly, the title track and Shade Of A Light are great examples of this. However, on others like Invisible Shield it feels like the band overpowers what would have better suited his previous, rawer style. Ultimately, it's the softer takes on the album which make the biggest impression. The opening to Small Talk is a gorgeous fingerpicked guitar part and Less Travelled Road has the kind of downbeat groove that doesn't need drums to maintain interest. Don't Leave and What If? are the two softest songs. They're short and stripped down and honest and when they come on, the world seems to disappear. The album closes with Man, which to me shows the kind of instrumentation Marshall's songs work best with. It keeps the acoustic guitars but adds the drums and found percussion to create a solid groove, over which Marshall can recite his early Dire Straits-informed lyrics. Overall a strong album, with refinement this new style could well produce some seriously great results.

Play Imaginary Lines songs

Children In The Rain

City City

Shade Of A Light

Out Of Focus

Less Travelled Road

Invisible Shield

Small Talk

Don't Leave


In The Dark

The Imaginary Line

What If?


Lyrics of Imaginary Lines songs

Recorded at Earwig studios, Highbury, Auckland in analogue on 2 inch magnetic tape.
Produced by Roger Marshall and Jono Lonie
Engineered and mixed by Darren McShane
Musicians: Roger Guitars, vocals, harmonica
Jono Lonie: violin, mandolin, electric mandolin, pipes, percussion, vocals
Bede MacClaurin, keyboards
Darren McShane, bass, vocals
Christelle Berthon, harmonica
Gordon Joll and Kerry Fraser, Drums