FAC 167

A post that was inspired by hearing this wonderful 45 at an indie-disco just before Christmas.

I’d completely forgotten that The Railway Children were, briefly, a Factory band. They released two singles and an album for the label in 86/87 before signing a lucrative deal with Virgin Records. I think it’s fair to say that they never quite scaled the heights the label bosses anticipated, although there was one hit single, Every Beat of the Heart, in 1990.

The hit single wasn’t played at the indie-disco but their sophomore effort for Factory was.  I’m willing to admit I don’t know a great deal about the band beyond this and the chart hit, but I’m willing to bet that very few, if any, 0f  their other songs can better this wonderful slice of pop that sounds both of its time and timeless:-

mp3 : The Railway Children – Brighter

I suppose what held the band back  that they weren’t quite distinctive sounding enough from many other C86 influenced guitar bands – there’s a lot of the Postcard/Go-Betweens sound in there at the back of a gentle, dreamy vocal that is perfect for the sunniest of days. I’ve dug out the two tracks that were on the reverse of the 12″ and, without trying to be too critical, they are more ordinary or routine that anything special or memorable.

mp3 : The Railway Children – History Burns
mp3 : The Railway Children – Careful

As I said, I’m not really familiar enough with the band to offer up much else. I’d be delighted to hear from anyone with more knowledge….maybe an ICA if you’re so inclined.  Indeed, just typing that sentence has given me an idea for later this week.

JC

7 thoughts on “FAC 167

  1. We didn’t get the Factory release of the first album here in America, but the Virgin version we got had everything from those first two Factory singles making it an 11-track album instead of the seven songs on the UK version. I have a couple of other singles but, personally, that one U.S. album is all I have ever felt I needed from the Railway Children.

  2. I feel the need to chip in with a positive vote for ‘Reunion Wilderness’ which I’ve always rated, having originally come across it as one of those marvellous Factory cassettes in the outsize box. The original 7-track version is nicely cohesive as a single listen – I’ve got the 11-track version on CD and the extra tracks are just a slightly annoying diversion. And they were rubbish afterwards (as Brian says, somewhat more politely…)

  3. Jings. Having just commented on Dolores, this is part of that same past life. ‘Had their moments’ would be my summary.

  4. The first single “A Gentle Sound” is one of my all time Factory faves. I like it better than Brighter, although I like that single as well. The b-sides for the first single are excellent as well.

  5. I always thought they would be really big – proof I should never be an A+R director… The Factory singles really stood out for me. I think some of their problems were down to timing…with shoegaze growing and jangle stuttering, they were a bit lost in the shuffle…

  6. Reunion Wilderness is definitely worth your time. Brighter is a high water mark for sure but there are some great tracks.

    My memory of Railway Children is one of massive disappointment. I too thought they were going to be great, and stuck with them well past the sell by date. It’s nice to go back and listen with fresh ears to their great early work.

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