Belfast art-rock quartet Junk Drawer are gearing up to release their new EP The Dust Has Come To Stay (out March 11 via Art For Blind Records), featuring lead single “Tears in Costa,” which arrived with a bang as one of Paste’s favorite songs of January. Now, the band have shared another track from the EP, “Railroad King,” which arrives with a video directed by Matty Killen.
Pulling inspiration from ‘60s garage rock and an eclectic mix of artists including The Cleaners From Venus, Ween and Television, “Railroad King” sees Junk Drawer place weaving guitar lines up against melodies that stick with you and sneak back up right when you think you’ve forgotten them. It’s a track that reveals itself with repeated listens, allowing new idiosyncrasies to pop up every time as you work deeper into the song’s fiber. The video is just as delightfully inventive, envisioning the band as paper dolls in a house that allows them to act out what the lyrics describe.
Band member Jake Lennox (who shares lead vocal duties on the track with his brother and bandmate Stevie) talked about “Railroad King” and how he came to write the song in a statement:
I’d written the lyrics to this song before I’d realized I was on the autistic spectrum, but the lyrics made total sense once the realization hit. It’s about not wanting to be away from the public world, adventuring happily with my imagination; walking by myself and making up songs etc. It also references the autistic feeling of feeling like my body is just a vessel that I want to ‘zip off’ to be my true self.
Lyrically, as I noodled through the main melody, the primary influence was Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Free.” During the writing sessions for the song as I was improvising, one of the repeated verses became “I just walk along and stroll and sing. I see better days and I do better things.” Folk music has always been my favorite genre and I always subconsciously bring in those kinds of songwriting elements rather than more modern rock formats. For example, this song has no chorus as such, but it has a refrain at the end of each verse that performs that function. I much prefer that style, it means I can play with the rhyming a bit more and I can add more words.
Check out the video for “Railroad King” below. You can preorder The Dust Has Come To Stay here.