Album Reviews

Railcars: Cathedral With No Eyes [Album Review]


Fingerprints are an interesting thing. They’re a hard thing to lose, and even harder to identify without the proper know-how. In a way, they’re symbolic of the influences that inspire musicians, and Railcars is no different. Their latest, Cathedral With No Eyes has the undeniable fingerprints of Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart in both the eccentric noise instrumentation and the vocal shouts.

A while back I posted an exclusive off this album, an unmastered version of “Passion of St. Edmumd (Rebirth)”. It’s easy to hear the progress the mastering brought forth — it’s still highly saturated with heavy static and occasional indecipherable vocals and notes alike. But there’s a clean quality to the overproduced static that’s as infectious as the swine flu. And hit track “Castles” is no different; in fact, it may even be more so.

Cathedral With No Eyes is a rarity — it’s an album that would be ideal from start to finish in a live setting. In a way, this is an EP, chiming in at just under 20 minutes. On the other hand, it’s a glorified single with three feature tracks: “Castles”, “Passion Of St. Edmunds (Rebirth)” and the title track, “Cathedral With No Eyes”. The rest is highly sophisticated noise filler, songs that act as brilliant transitions without which this album would not be whole.

Railcars chooses an unlikely format for an album ripe with religion; St. Edmund is mostly known (based on a limited amount of research) as a martyr through the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. But, as religion goes, it’s certainly not for everyone and neither is Cathedral With No Eyes. But for those who can tolerate — or better yet enjoy — noise pop, it’s an absolute masterpiece.

Railcars: Castles [mp3]

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Cathedral With No Eyes by Railcars

Stumparumper Records / Gold Robot Records [CDEP, 2009]

1. Life Of St. Edmund (Ponds)
2. Castles
3. Passion Of St. Edmund (Rebirth)
4. Passion Of St. Edmund (Miracles)
5. Cathedral With No Eyes
6. Martyrdom Of St. Edmund (End)

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