Album Review – Native Place by the Railway Children (1990)


Gary Newby, the front man of The Railway Children had a voice you wanted to eat strawberries from. It was the beauty of a crystalline note perfect nature. This clean essence was also accentuated by the sheer clarity of the accompanying jangled chiming hooks and melodies, that effectively made them the favourite band of discerning youngsters who appreciated musical substance over the era’s rapacious attention to vogue…it was music for those who let themselves enjoy all that could be pure and sweet.

Every Beat of the Heart             

In my opinion this album, despite being their most commercial, is the pinnacle of an impressive discography and optimally highlights the brilliant beauty of a band who had a studio output that spanned nearly thirty years and are still in great demand as a gigging entity. And why wouldn’t they be, when the audience are likely to be treated a set-list including the inimitable Every Beat of The Heart (see above) and The Blue Sky (below)?

The Blue Sky

However, they never ‘really’ received the sort of widespread critical acclaim that their music deserved. Perhaps it was an ‘edge’ issue? Despite being featured by John Peel in 1986, which was often the catalyst for immediate ‘trend membership’, somehow the likes of the The Mighty Lemon Drops, The Frank and Walters and The Chesterfields seemed to have more appeal to the cool and trendy of the era.

Perhaps they were just too clean cut and pretty? Perhaps they were just ‘too good’ at their art in an era that seemed to enjoy raucous imperfection? Perhaps they made the wrong label choice by going to a major like Virgin who were infinitely more Madonna than Morrissey and had recently even sucked all the cool out of a band like Microdisney, which should not have been without significance?

Either way, this album and indeed all of their studio work, is a legacy to just how beautiful sheer jangle-pop perfection can be when delivered without the slightest semblance of pretense.

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