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AAA Music | 20 July 2019

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Underground Railroad and the album “White Night Stand”

| On 13, May 2011

Parisian émigrés Underground Railroad return with a brand new album ‘White Night Stand’, a record that finally strikes the keynote of what the band are all about.

Across its 11 songs – produced by the band in London’s Stamford Hill – guitars explore and meander, circling the biggest melodies of the band’s career so far. It’s intense and amped, touching and subtle at points and hugely tuneful, taking in early Radiohead and Liars as well as the beloved American alt.rock bands that made the three fall in love with music in the first place.

Sessions started in January 2010 with engineer Ellis Gardiner, and, after an initial purple patch had yielded songs that would end up making the final record, the band realised that they need go no further than their own doorstep to make the album they wanted to make. “The American sound is on [our last album] ‘Sticks And Stones'”, Raphael outlines, “This time we just felt like we were a London band, so we wanted to do it in London. This record, it sounds more UK.”

As the songs’ subject matter dictated, ‘White Night Stand’ is more of a London album than any born and bred capital-dwellers could have made, their outsider status offering them a detached insight into the city’s inner workings. Raphael: “I was writing about all these dark bars in London, the weirdness of meeting new people and not understanding someone, or how they function. It’s a night-time album, definitely.”

There are moments of fitting intensity. Most notably ‘Seagull Attack’, the album’s crescendo centrepiece, that clocks in at over nine minutes with its hypnotic repetitive guitar cascade. Then there’s the distinctly Radiohead-esque ‘Ginkgo Biloba’, another album highlight.

Further inspiration across the album came from Twin Peaks and David Lynch Marion naming ‘The Black Widow’, ‘The Orchid’s Curse’, and ‘Traces To Nowhere’ after episodes of the show, and ‘Yellow Suit’ in reference to his ‘Blue Velvet’ film.

The album was produced by Underground Railroad and mixed Paul Walton (Massive Attack – “Mezzanine”, Bjork – “Homogenic” / “Vespertine”).

Live:
Thursday 16th June: Barfly, London
Friday 17th June: Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich