Armagideon Time

Back to Wax #45: The rail deal

February 25th, 2019

I have spent the past week and a half in the grip of La Grippe. The worst bits of it have subsided, but several unpleasant after effects have lingered on. It’s nothing too serious, but does call for some lighter fare until I’m able to steady myself again.

Fortunately, I have just the pop confection in my singles crate…

Jesus Couldn’t Drum was a two-piece outfit active during the latter half of the 1980s. While not technically a “C86” act, they shared the lo-fi aesthetics, proto-twee whimsy, and fondness for idiosyncratic band names associated with that subset of UK indie pop.

“I’m a Train” presents a slight divergence from that script. The a-side of their third and final single is a bouncy yet melancholic slice of synthpop akin to a DIY Depeche Mode or Bronski Beat dance jam. I can’t tell whether it was intended as a sincere bid for a chart placement or a good-natured piss take, as that entire scene operated under a pop version of Poe’s Law.

It really doesn’t matter, though, because the song is such a potent artifact of a specific moment. I didn’t come across it until about fifteen ago, yet it induces lucid flashbacks to my junior high days.

“I’m a Train” might not be the best in its particular class, but it is platonically perfect. It was also surprisingly affordable to acquire, even with overseas shipping.

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