Time Signature

John Boles on how his latest album is a seamless follow up even after nearly a decade


For Providence act Align in Time, the long arc of a departure from performing and releasing music came to an end with last autumn’s show at Fête Music Hall supporting the release of On a Spiral, the first album since 2011’s Me & My Arrow. Align in Time is the project name for the work composed by John Boles. With a distinctive post-rock, emo, melodic, instrumental, genre-fluid brand of music, Boles demonstrates the unique ability to release new music that picks up right where his previous work left off. 

“There was a long gap, but I was writing consistently,” Boles explains. “So there’s not really a clean break between the albums. I’m usually only writing one or two songs at any given time, so they end up being snapshots of specific moments in my personal and musical development, spread across many years. That’s part of the reason I’ve used recurring themes throughout the two albums, like a film score – it brings some continuity even as time passes and I shift the approach or mood.” Additionally, both albums were produced, engineered, and mixed by Bryan Russell at Red Wire Audio.

The orchestral movement of Boles’ music becomes clear upon first listen with layers of guitar tracks advancing each song into cathartic moments minus the guide of lyrics. One encounters layers of distorted riffs, complex arpeggios, counter rhythms and harmonies, crystal-clean chords, and aggressive and pensive moments; the slow, epic build of a track like “I Go Too” gives a snapshot of this dynamic range which is a signature of Boles’ style.

“I think what makes the experience of instrumental music different is that words hold significance outside of music,” Boles muses. “No matter how abstract, lyrics are loaded with meaning from other uses in a way that music isn’t. There are connotations I have with certain songs or bits of music, but, honestly, even for me the meaning changes over time.”

While Boles plays all the string parts on both On a Spiral and Me & My Arrow – with Tyler Mahurin and Jesse Hangen recording drums respectively – his live shows feature a full band consisting of cousin Russ Gutterson on guitar, Cooper Heinrichs on guitar, Nick Fede on bass, and Jesse Hangen on drums. “Playing with close friends makes it easy,” Boles offers. “They put in the time to learn everything basically the way it is on the album, with some slight tweaks to make things work live.” 

Responding to his music not being easily pegged, Boles offers “​​I think the reason I end up in that gray area between genres is because I’m pulling inspiration from all the music I love indiscriminately. I’m pretty self-aware while writing and give up on ideas if I sense an influence that’s blatant, but on the other hand, I absolutely love combining a couple of influences in an unexpected way. And I think that’s something I really enjoy hearing when I listen to other artists, too.”

Learn more at AlignInTime.bandcamp.com


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