Sometimes When - The Golden Rail (Candlestick Records)
If you heard the debut album you know what to expect: These four veterans - supplemented by producer and multi-instrumentalist Nick Batterham - have been around too long to put a foot wrong, so it’s stellar guitar pop all the way.
With origins going back to Perth popsters like The Palisades, The Rainyard, Header, Summer Suns, DM3 and The Jangle Band, a
re-grouping in Australia's music capital, Melbourne, would be hard-pressed to fail.
The 10 songs are co-writes by guitarists-vocalists Jeff Baker and Ian Freeman and they're exactly what you don't expect to hear on mainstream radio. In other words, they're full of understated melodies, feels that sit back in the pocket and chiming guitars.
The Golden Rail's evocative sound winds things back to the '80s, capturing echoes from the preceding decades.
The songs mostly lack the brashness of early Big Star or the sugar rush of the Someloves but The Golden Rail have carved out their own niche somewhere in-between. The peak is "Shine Patiently", a thoroughly captivating song whose hook is nestled between muted brass and Erica Menting's warm backing vocal.
"Regent Street" pushes its chorus to the front, riding a gentle wave on the back of some tasty guitar and more brass. The soulful "I Will Be Your Ghost" sounds like it could have popped off the production line at Ardent Studios, while "Don't Let Go Of The Light" (the lead-off digital single) and the wistful opener "Just Fell In Love" also deserve serious attention.
"You Keep Me From Blue" is the surprise packet - a song that borders on bubblegum with its playful, vamping keys. Some of the quieter tracks on side two don't leave their mark and the almost seven-minute long "Saw You Go" could have done with an edit, but it's an album that seeks to cajole rather than grab you by the arm and shake you for attention. Therein lies the charm.
"Sometimes When" is grower that gets stuck in the CD player (or on the turntable, if that's your fetish) with repeated listens. The convenience of "try before you buy" Bandcamp (see the link below) means you can't go wrong.