The Sound of Rails – Night Time Simulcast

The Sound of Rails
Night Time Simulcast

The Sound of Rails, an Omaha, Nebraska band (and what indie band lately isn’t from Chicago or Omaha?), have truly found their sound on their second full-length album. And that sound seems based around repetition, something I would – based on the concept of it alone – think to be a bad thing. But The Sound of Rails use repetition so well as a musical approach that it turns Night Time Simulcast into a simultaneously soothing and abrasive release.
The band repeats many musical elements, from riffs and percussive beats to vocals, but not often enough that they grow weary. Rather, they’re repeated throughout these songs as a framework in the way that Tristeza repeats instrumental elements, and it works extremely well. But while on their previous releases, that sound had a soothing, hypnotic effect, on Night Time Simulcast they go for a more post-hardcore feel, drawing equal similarities to the aforementioned Tristeza and the oft-cited Fugazi. With impeccable rhythm, abrasive guitars, and their unique brand of repetitive elements, it works extremely well.
“Rulo” opens the album with a moody bass-line and a rolling pace, as the primary vocals are spoken way down in the mix, quiet enough that they can be heard but easily receding into another instrumental feel, while the singer’s voice comes in and out in an almost whispered style. Far less soothing, “The Stranger” is made abrasive mostly through a gloss of distortion that appears to cover the entire sound almost like a fuzz on the track, giving the guitars – and vocals, at times – a thick, crunchy sound.
The band can be soothing at times, as on the instrumental “)))))))),” and much more traditionally post-hardcore on others, such as on “Keipher.” But when they combine the styles, as on the drifting “Pulse” and the more aggressive, almost punk-like “Private Drive,” they seem to really hit their stride. And it works well, depending on well structured instrumentation with repetitive elements and building with loud, aggressive guitars and sung/shouted vocals.
Night Time Simulcast doesn’t rock as hard as many post-hardcore bands – in fact, their pace is at times sluggish, at times hypnotically soothing. But with the abrasive edge in the vocals and guitars, it can feel both soothing and edgy at once. Upon the first few listens, that contrast is a bit jarring and disruptive, but soon it feels perfectly normal and you wonder why all those other bands have to be so loud…or soft. Truly coming into their own, The Sound of Rails have released an excellent, if a tad short, sophomore album.