Railway Children - Recurrence
Recurrence by Wigan band the Railway Children is definitely another find, though I will add straight away it is not in the same category of awesomeness as the two albums mentioned above. It is one of those albums which, to those of us familiar with the decade, has many of the positive things which made the eighties so great and as few as possible of the negatives. Starting off in the mid-eighties as a post-punk outfit inspired by the Cure as much as by the Smiths, they slowly made the transition to the kind of early jangle pop which, for me at least, brings back so many pleasant memories of the late eighties.
The album has a smooth and crisp sound to it and is full of catchy numbers on the gentle side, somewhat reminiscent, vocals apart, of the Sundays' debut album a couple of years later. At times it almost veers towards the light airiness of some of the later New Romantics, but thankfully never goes far enough down that route to become a distraction or detraction. This is largely enabled by some professionally managed production which gives the album its smooth and easy-to-listen-to feel but at the same time provides the listener with the distinct impression that the band are trying just that little bit too hard. As I sit and listen to this I can hear so many shades of the eighties that, after a while, they can be hard to pin down. It is almost as if the band had set out to encapsulate, in just under 37 minutes, a panoramic view of the whole of the eighties music scene without losing ay distinctiveness in their own sound.
Among the highlights is the elegant opening track, "Somewhere South" which really sets the tone for the rest of the album. "A Pleasure" follows this immediately and is very much in the same vein. Towards the middle of the album the band start to become more adventurous, allowing the guitars to come much more to the forefront and establish the jangle pop sound which lends this album its real charm. Tracks such as "Swallowed" and especially "In the Meantime" are the true highlights of the album. Some genuinely good lyrics can be found on the bittersweet "Monica's Lights" and the closing track, "No Great Objections" tantalises with the promise it holds out that the band would be able to build on this album and take forward their distinctive take on jangle pop.
Sadly, it was not to be. The band seemed to be on a quest to achieve fame and moved from the more post-punk sound of their first album to a decidedly commercial sound for their third. This was to be their undoing. The Railway Children, it would seem, were always destined to be one of those bands for whom oblivion beckoned like a bright light does to a moth. Quickly they faded away. But if they are to be remembered for anything, and welcomed in to memory, it should be for the feelings and memories that this album brings flooding back.
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