Toronto’s Allan Rayman is back with a new single, the first off of his upcoming album, Roadhouse 2. The new track, “Rider” is reminiscent of Rayman’s early albums such as Hotel Allan and Roadhouse 01, yet sonically expands upon the edgy and enigmatic R&B he’s known for.
The wintry music video features Rayman embarking on a dizzying mental odyssey through a snow-covered forest, as he sees flashes of what could become of his future should he allow the darkest parts of himself to take over his life. With a sense of impending doom, the melancholic track hints at the sinister path Rayman will take unless he regains autonomy over himself as he sees visions of his life from beginning to end. There’s also a feeling of familiarity, thanks to the minimalistic drums and similar animalistic imagery from his first couple of albums. His signature gravelly vocals are on full display as he ponders feeling like prey.
“Rider” draws inspiration from the Kurt Vonnegut classic Slaughterhouse-Five, with Rayman giving a new meaning to the novel’s iconic quote about the character of Billy Pilgrim being unstuck in time. “At some point along the way, I became unstuck in time,” Rayman says in a spoken word section as the track closes out. “I move around the moments of my life uncontrollably. It’s like visiting the zoo, but I’m the animals, and the keeper, and the patrons. I’ve always felt moments were like people, someone I could see again.”
“All this happened, more or less,” Rayman tells Complex Canada.
During the pandemic, he had time to finish Roadhouse 02 while looking back at the ups and downs of his career and navigating his journey of being signed, dropped, and still finding joy in making music. The album will explore Rayman weighing the options of his future and deciding which way to go.
“Together the songs and video tell a story of an artist who creates an alter ego to handle success in the music industry and what happens when you lose yourself in that character,” Rayman says. “Ultimately the album is by an artist for an artist. It shines light on the negatives that come with this career choice. With an underlying theme that our shortcomings as artists are our strength; makes for good music—real music.”
Roadhouse 02 is due out on March 18.