Moving toward you at a speed of 47 mph is a train pulled by an Alco diesel-electric locomotive that was built in 1926. It is fuchsia and turquoise - two colors you didn't even know existed back then. The six cars immediately behind the engine are filled with children's books from the 40s and 50s. You know, the kind with the three-color screen-printed illustrations - blue, green, orange - none of which line up quite right with their thin, black outlines. And, the five cars in back (just in front of the caboose, which to your disappointment isn't red) are stacked with paperback murder mysteries somebody's grandmother had accumulated, one per week, from the local Five and Dime, right up until the day she died. That dime store died too, a murder mystery in it's own right. One that's far too common. Between these mobile libraries, on a flatbed car of their very own, are the members of Those Transatlantics. They're doing their best to sing an ambitious three-part harmony from the title track of their new record, Civil like The War: As the Boys sing at last: "We are all outnumbered!" And the Children laugh. We take apart our hand-held matches And turning out our thumbs, Point them at each other, then we've Turned them into guns! Aaaah! Aaaah! You are standing 24 feet from the edge of the tracks, contemplating throwing yourself across them because, for some reason, the idea seems romantic. If it weren't for your indecisiveness, you'd already be lying there. After all, your capable mind has accepted the fact that the kinetic energy involved in the upcoming series of moments will claim your life, regardless of the prayers and less-genuine efforts from those on board the train. You can already feel the earth trembling beneath your feet. It's decision time. As the train approaches, passing the grain elevator (which died with your great-grandfather at the edge of the depot grounds), you lay yourself down atop a railroad tie. You find that the partially rotted wood sinks beneath the weight of your torso, cradling you comfortably. Your head rests on the northernmost rail (it feels alive with vibration), and you find it perfectly ironic that the cool sweat in your stubbly hairdo makes the top of your head feel like it's covered with moss. Your eyes are looking up at the copper eaves of the depot, when you are distracted by a flock of multi-colored birds. There are eight of them and they take up the band's high harmony. You don't have much time to wonder where they're from, where they're headed, or how they know the melody. The engineer has already given up on his air horn, leaving nothing but the band to serenade you through these final few seconds. It's a different song now, this time without harmony - the birds are silent, resting their wings on an updraft: Finally finished, Like paper dishes. And still coming down. Old resolutions had all been written, leaving the music with no sound. It must have been winter. It must have been something, that was said with no one around. Oh my goodness! The train is upon you and you before you even realize it. Your last few seconds are spent hearing and seeing, but not [physically] feeling. It just doesn't seem real! Maybe that's why they call it dream pop?
Ode to Nomad 1
Rocket Service 1988
Civil Like the War
Ode to Nomad 2
House On the Hill
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