Published Jun 11, 2020With material penned in Armenia amidst the overthrow of its long-standing dictatorship, Armen Bazarian's debut EP harnesses the backdrop of the 2018 revolution as a potent creative stimulus, its immaculate synth-pop pulse deriving a degree of renewal from a fractious and cathartic process.
The Toronto-based artist has plied his craft with certain dexterity for the best part of the last decade, earning credits as a composer for several films showcased at SXSW and Toronto International Film Festival, as well as stints scoring commercials. Sight Lines builds upon this resume of projects, finding further proof of Bazarian extending his breadth of talent.
Enlisting DIANA's Carmen Elle for the opening title track and "The Wrong Side", Bazarian deftly lays his cards on the table in immediately signalling to a sleek, mature form of songcraft, meshing peppy, upbeat patterns with layered electronic undertones akin to the icy ambience served up by College and Electric Youth. This proves a steady base from which the remainder of the EP pivots, Bazarian's vocals, particularly when paired alongside those of Elle, unfolding with raw, often ruminative emotion and palpitating rhythmic timing.
A sense of the tempestuous gives way to a placid, life-affirming atmosphere, reaching its zenith on "Something to Live For", leaning as it does on stark, unequivocal lyrics: "And cities we loved were left as piles of dust / Then came the ocean breaking free".
Sight Lines sees lived trauma and freedom recast into an undiluted display of the melancholic and joyous, deepened through the very nature of its inspiration. Bazarian, as such, roots heartfelt experience beneath the surface sheen — storied electro-pop that straddles the sublime and buoyant. (Independent)