It must be around four years ago that the name of UNDERGROUND RAILROAD was whispered to me by a band that headlined a show in Paris with this exciting local three-piece as support. Since then, they (Underground Railroad that is) have released two critically acclaimed albums, and accumulated a healthy (erm) underground support on both sides of The Channel. They have also, as far as I’m aware now re-located to London.
Their sound is pretty full on and for there being only three of them, they are capable of quite a racket. However, theirs is a very individual sound and I can honestly draw no specific comparisons or reference to other bands. Which is as unusual as it is exciting.
This is the band’s first single since the release of their ‘Sticks and Stones’ album over two years ago and evidences a slight change – not so much in ‘direction’ but perhaps in ‘delivery,’ as there is a bit more of a relaxed feel this time around.
No – ‘Russian Doll,’ is neither as frenetic nor as spiky as some of their earlier work, the whole song having a smoother feel to it. There is still the trademark droned guitar from Marion, of course. However this time the sound modulates in volume throughout while Raphael’s vocals are tinged with a little reverb and the combination of the two giving the song a bit of a psychedelic ‘Sixties’ feel. I know it doesn’t actually sound comparable, but it does remind me in bits of Donovan’s ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man.’
The B-side is ‘The Orchid’s Curse,’ and sees Marion taking the lead vocal on a more downbeat, dark and atmospheric track that incorporates some subtle background cello adding to the slightly ‘stoner’ mood.
(Released through One Little Indian on 28th March 2011)