I love stumbling across great acts by mistake. Recently, elsewhere, I posted a brief rant on the Joy Division film about Ian Curtis called Control. In the post, I noted that my true introduction to Joy Division’s music stemmed from a cover of “Celebration” Xiu Xiu included on Chapel Of The Chimes. Well, when I saw a post by Railcars titled Xiu Xiu fans rejoice… I had to check them out.
The post noted that Railcars’ upcoming album was recorded and produced by Xiu Xiu front-man Jamie Stewart… recorded, in fact, in Stewart’s kitchen. And, upon listening to a few songs by the band, it was obvious he had his hand in the recordings. The vocals are filled with static-filled fuzz and the instrumentation blends various dark electronic elements in with lo-fi guitars and percussion.
“Bohemia Is Without Sea” opens with distortion rampant guitars, and the vocal pattern is actually quite reminiscent to that of Joy Division’s “Ceremony”. In some ways the lo-fi qualities that make Railcars’ music distinct are what make artists like Times New Viking shine—Railcars definitely create catchy tunes with indistinct lyrics spurted out in memorably moody vocal hooks.
“Saints Are Waiting At My Door” follows suit but concludes with a key-heavy instrumental rant. “Concrete Buildings”, too, matches the aforementioned tunes with indecipherable lyrics; while the loud-soft nature of Stewart’s music isn’t necessarily present, you can hear traces of his influence in front man Aria Jalali’s scream-ish vocals.
“There Is Ice; It Is Blue” concludes the songs from Railcars EP, Cities Vs. Submarines, available around August as a 7” on Gold Robot Records. While, according to Jalali, a few still need some minor mastering work done, they sound terrific. I for one am looking forward to checking the album out.
This review was originally published July 3, 2008 on the old version of FensePost. Cities Vs. Submarines has since been released and is available for purchase here.