I’ve long held that the hardest reviews to write are the ones about albums I genuinely love. When I sit down to write one of these and am completely stumped, it usually means I’m onto something special. It is that moment, when my own emotional response to the music goes far beyond objective analysis or even the ability to form basic sentences, that explains why I do this. Nevertheless, it still poses a problem. If I have nothing to say about the record, how am I going to convince you to pick it up? How could my words possibly do it justice? “Just go listen to the damn thing! I mean it this time!” This has only happened a handful of times over the last few years, but each time it has, the album has been in constant rotation on my iPod ever since; Danielle Duval‘s Of The Valley, Father John Misty‘s Fear Fun, Nude Beach‘s II, Screaming Females‘ Live at the Hideout. Luckily, it is the same problem I’m facing today when trying to put something together for the new LP from The Underground Railroad to Candyland, The People Are Home.
The Underground Railroad to Candyland (and yes, I thoroughly enjoy writing this band name) are Todd C. (vocals/guitar), Jimmy Felix (Drums), Chachi (Fun Station), John Predny (Trombone), Jack Doyle (Bass), Trevor Roundhouse (Extra Drums), and Sean Cole (Slide Guitar). Tood C. was also responsible for recording The People Are Home at Clown Sound Studio in San Pedro, CA. It makes a lot of sense that this album would come out of the same cradle that produced punk greats Minutemen. The Underground Railroad sport the same raw energy that you heard on a listen to Double Nickels. There is a genuine sense that anything is possible with their music. Except, where Minutemen deconstructed the world, Todd and the boys seem equally interested in building something behind them.
The Underground Railroad to Candyland is a gloriously democratic, technicolor chaos machine.
That’s the one phrase I was able to write down after three weeks of listening to this record. I kept circling around it, trying to find another angle at this review, but that was all I could come up with and I’m still not sure you wouldn’t be better off if I simply posted it alone. This isn’t one of those bands that has one musical hero who saturates the entire ethos. Instead, the songs on The People Are Home swirl with influences from everywhere, without being a slave to any. There are big rock choruses you might expect to hear from early Mission of Burma, crashing in-the-red percussion that could fit nicely on a Built to Spill album, goofball post-apocalyptic punk attitude that seems to come from Half Japanese, and that wonderful jangle guitar tone that reminds me of The Only Ones. It’s all here, and in a perfectly chaotic balance throughout the record. I could apply any number of genre buzz words to this sound; lo-fi, garage, psychedelic, punk, DIY, jangle pop, etc., etc., etc. Again, I don’t think any of them do the band and their sound proper justice.
It’s hard to pick individual moments from The People Are Home out as highlights. Of course, the anthemic title track and “Diamond Ring” will be the first things that stick to your brain, but as I’ve listened to the record more and more, the whole thing plays as one piece. It is one corner of the musical world that doesn’t sound like anything else being created right now. Even the whacko instrumental “Omstro” (which also sounds like it could have found a home on one of those old Minutemen records) is a highlight because it fits in so perfectly here where it wouldn’t on any other album you’ll hear in 2015.
The People Are Home is everything in one album. This is party music. This is music for an afternoon walk. This is music to put on in the gym or on your way to work. If someone where to ask me why I listen to music, this would be one of the albums I would play for them. All the better that The Underground Railroad to Candyland don’t seem to give a shit about any of that. They are just trying to ‘make a happy noise here’. That is exactly why The People Are Home is the best album I’ve heard this year. Just go listen to the damn thing. I really mean it this time.-The Big Takeover/Chris Bell
Look at the lids how they don't blink,see how it's dead inside. Check out the pink. It's the rare meat. This time nowhere to hide. A mound of waste and heart strings.
A tug of war of pride. And now were hung so deeply. See how it's dead inside Look at their face and point out their scars. Pretend that you live inside. Look at their wages and sell em used cars. Pretend you have a place to hide. There's no greater waste than a falling star. Now sip on yer drink and repo that car
Runnin a race on a dead leg. Skippin the pay on the dead leg. Racing the rabbit on a dead leg. Kickin a habit with the dead leg. A downtown taste. A sudden embrace. A downtown taste.
Track Name: The Grownups Will Have Their Say
The Grownups Will Have Their Say
Come on in the second skin Cos everybody's clockin' in. If it's on yer mind we gotta know. Don't trip gain a foe. Pay a million bucks and hire everyone to talk
You think a joke is funny with a donut and a cop. The scarlet letter disappeared Or maybe just another near. You talk and balk and then u talk but never seem to walk.
Pay a million bucks and hire everyone to talk.You think a joke is funny with a donut and a cop. I'll pay ya five bucks to keep it cool and lemme walk. Just get a job. 9-5. Back home you wont stay alive. They might find the true source. Everything must run its course. Go home. Turn it on. No one knows even when your gone. I know it's hard but daddy will save it with his credit card.
Track Name: Yer Not The Only One
Yer Not The Only One
Now there's no tellin' where you'll roam. You'll be the last to try it. You'll be the first to buy it. The scabs just peel and the bruises glow. The grim is a false messiah. The song's from the same choir. Gimmie a break yer not the only one. And when I sat there in your home. I can't say you were lying. I can't say you were trying
but i'm not bothered by it at all. I won't see a thing I saw. I'll say you said nothing at all. But gimmie a break yer not the only one. I’m tired. I’m late. They but hired but I flaked. I’m burned. I’m baked. Down cold and ate. In the belly of a starving state. Yer not the only one! Down low. Yer not the only one! Real slow
Yer not the only one! Who can't see. Yer not the only one! Who’s free.
Track Name: In Case You Dunno
In Case You Dunno
I'm in control.Leave me alone. I got a home. In case you dunno. Bad seeds will grow. Move to New York.Get eatin' slow . In case you dunno. I'm in control.
Track Name: Let's Go! Take It Slow!
Let’s Go! Take It Slow!
Just take it slow cos everyone knows You sleep with foes. Just take it slow. Cos yer ass is out and the boss ain't here.Now yer hittin' on girls in electric chairs. Let’s go!
It's all for show. You'd think they'd know. But the johns so full cos you didn't shit slow. And now the toilet don't drain and yer nose is clogged. All complaints.All yer fault. Let’s Go! Now tell me how it goes. It's who you know. You didn't take it slow. You took it up yer nose. And now the cars and dames. And the two bit fucks are under yer bed w the with your Two Buck Chuck.
Track Name: Diamond Ring
Your mind won't stop it. Your hand just glows and I'm stuck staring at the clock on the ceiling. The clowns in the office Sign to death row and our common bond is just the same sick feeling. It's a beautiful thing girl. Goddamn It's diamond ring. He's yours now take it. Your finger's well served. Am I mistaken oe was that just a maybe. The last light cut out but the rock still shines. The kids cry louder at the clock on the ceiling.
Track Name: Worried
You think the worst. Then ride in. You take the most vitamins. You take them all downtown. You take the most when I’m around,Then say,Don’t let em hurt me!”
Everybody’s worried about their place. Worried about the face. Everybody’s worried about the taste. Worried about the race. Arms, Legs etc.
Track Name: This Is A Blind Date!
This Is A Blind Date!
I'll stay here but I can't wait. No thank you. I just ate. I'm thirsty but I can't drink. I'm wired but I can't think. I've taken chances but no way. Id say it but I can't say. I'm thirsty but I just can't drink. I'm sorry it's a blind date. Now everyone's cold and stuffy after we shared insides. No one wants to look at the bigger picture but everyone wants to shit inside. I'm not who I am. I'm not him. Raise your hands if you don't know. I'm not who I am.
Track Name: And Now
Sailin on yer dreams. Yea they seem so wet. Add a few more friends.Add a few more debts. Saw you with the ladies and they all had pretty dress down by the stationTakin a trip but don't tell the rest. You tip big when they notice and they sure notice yer vest. Back down at the station,Man, this social never rests. And now they're all impressed. I'll join you later but my dinners getting cold. Halfway thru the taters,Man I felt so old. My consolation was a deal so dull. I better get to the station before my seat gets sold.Down by the station.Down by the road.No reservation.That's what I'm told. Down by the station.Down by the road No reservation.Your seats been sold.
Track Name: You Don't Like The Summer
You Don’t Like The Summer
You don't like the leak. You don't like the plumber. You don't like the rain. You don't like the summer. You don't like the train. You think it's a bummer. You don't like the plane. You don't like the summer.
Track Name: Th Ppl R Hm
Th Ppl R Hm
Sirens are callin me out. Stationed and hollering about. The sun leaves without no sound. Bosses are finally home bound. Mainstays have strayed outta bounds. Back washed and turned into ground. Sirens still making that sound and I don't know what it's about. Another change won't change a thing. Another new thing in my brain and I can't take it. Another day won't change a thing. Now that's the first thing on my brain and I can't shake it. Bang bang goes thee outside. If you got nothing to lose,you got nothing to hide. The people are home. The people are home. yea. I gotta fax machine. I'm gonna fax you all. One stupid message one stupid brawl.
The people are home yea.