It can be difficult to mix medieval history and music. Very few who’ve tried have managed to successfully walk the narrow path between obnoxious enigma-esque cheesy renaissance fest-like schmaltz and pompous, brass and thesaurus friendly college rock music.
Luckily Railcars manage to avoid these pitfalls quite handily on their newly-released 12” EP Cathedral With No Eyes, an album based on the life of Edmund the Martyr, a 9th century king killed by the Vikings – apparently by becoming a human target for their arrows – among other equally unsavory things. Railcars, led by LA-based multiple-instrumentalist Aria Jalali has turned the life and death of this king into an album of intense, glorious, nasty sounding beautiful noise rock that features no conspicuous luting or monkish chanting. Even without any of the obvious and overdone nods to the past, and perhaps because of this, Edmund’s story shines through in the whirling noise, drifting electronics and shifting craziness of Cathedral With No Eyes. No history book is required to love this music.
However, if you are interested in 9th Century Martyr kings – seriously folks, this stuff makes for some good reading, take it from me – get started here. Railcars are taking their glorious messy noise on the road and they’ll be playing pretty much everywhere but here in Lawrence, KS sometime in the next month or so – I’ve not been so tempted to drive to Tulsa in a long while. In any case, get your hands on a copy of Cathedral With No Eyes on vinyl through Stumparumper or digitally on Gold Robot.
Listen to “Castles” from Cathedral With No Eyes here
by: Meghan Bainum