Women Tied to Railroad Tracks are a band from Los Angeles, consisting of Katherine Wall (vocals, guitar, synth), Adrian Agacer (guitar), Andre Agacer (bass) and either Dana Maier-Zucchino or Jared Murphy (drums). After the standalone single ‘Wrong Valley Girl’ last year, the outfit put our their debut EP earlier this, solidifying their sprawling, avant garde-inspired rock.
Album opener ‘Plain Parenthood’ sets the tone, a woozy, wordy slice of indie pop that sits in a strange space between mundane reality and freaky dreams, Wall’s mellifluous vocals crooning us through an uncanny world with a tone somewhere between warmth and boredom. The EP contains “songs about levitating,” the band explain, “which is cool but scary.”
With supporting synths, ‘Endless Carpet’ has a retro sheen, though again there is an alienation present, something related to the cool-but-scary strangeness of being a living, breathing, free-thinking creature in a world of billions more. This is achieved with what you’ll quickly understand as Wall’s trademark delivery, witty and earnest all at once:
But I see what you all mean
Lately I’ve been just
Making the mirror nervous
By the way I’ve been looking at it
Though I still look forward to things
I still look forward to
Finishing speciality salads
Like that will make me new
‘Thick Thoughts and Prayers’ continues the confused vibe, two people watching in bemusement as they become strangers to one another, or else realise that’s how things have always been. The viscous atmosphere of ‘Celibate Good Times (Come On)’ looks at the same idea but from the remove of months or years, once familiar people relegated to memories that pop up half-snatched glances, hovering just out of understanding.
Which leaves closer ‘Man vs. Food’, icy cool and complex, pitched on the dividing line between pop ballad and art rock ripper. The sound is dreamy, almost vertiginous, and again this is backed up by Wall’s clever writing, exploring the liminal space between the old and the new, where the shackles are removed and identity can be formed from any direction. There might be a freedom in forgetting the past, but there is a loss of security too, the anchored, weightless float that is thrilling but precarious, vulnerable to the slightest breeze blowing you off course.
And Levitating is out now and you can get it from the Women Tied to Railroad Tracks Bandcamp page.
Cover art by Chantal Elise