Railbird’s homecoming Friday night at Valentine’s saw them perform all three songs from their newly released EP, Lucky, as well as new interpretations of some of their most popular tunes from their album No One.
Local heroes gone big show up on the EP. Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel and Anti Records recording artist Sean Rowe lent their talents and auras to the single “Jump Ship.” The track is emblematic of the band’s new sound. The staccato guitar riff that congeals this track is really an echo of the vocal theme. In fact, many of the Railbird arrangements play to the vocals, waiting for vocal cues to introduce key elements and rhythmic accents. “Lucky” is another prime example of this phenomenon, as the bassline is simultaneously the heartbeat of the song and an echo of the heady lyrics.
Guitarists Chris Kyle and Xander Naylor answered each other in an interlocking mesh of electric guitar on “Mirrors,” the EP’s other new new track. Their lines were less a call-and-response and more of a single interlocking melody that is being bounced off a mirror. The show ended with a double encore including a blink-and-you-missed-it version of “Kiss the Wall.” As the tune started rocking and the dance floor was moving, it came to an abrupt stop and the applause was delayed for a moment as people wondered if this was just another compositional device, like they had used earlier in their set.
Since their move from the Capital Region to Brooklyn, the band’s sound has certainly gained new influences. There is a progressive rock edge that is more refined than it has ever been. Odd time signatures and harder rock climaxes are more pronounced. The live band for this event featured the core duo of Sarah Pedinotti and Kyle with drummer Chris Carey, guitarist Naylor and bassist Derek Leslie. Naylor and Leslie thrashed around almost in step at times, while Pedinotti’s face shook back and forth when she was feeling the intensity. The theatrics are part of what give this music its pop cred and make it an interesting show to listen to and to look at. Each member has their own eccentric style. After their appearances at SXSW, CMJ and the 4th Annual Roots Picnic in the last year alone, we in the Capital Region are Lucky to be able to call the Railbird crew our homies.
Opener Sun Burdens was a bit of a bust when Shane Sanchez’s extensive electronics setup copped out, but Hand Habits performed an intriguing set that kept listeners on the dance floor and floating in their electronic whisky dreams.