This is the sort of release that the U.K. needs right now ~ a gentle reminder of quiet pleasures. In 2017, Gilroy Mere paid tribute to The Green Line of double decker buses; this year, he returns to honor dismantled railway stations. Over the Tracks is the prelude to summer’s full-length Adlestrop, but none of these tracks will appear there, which makes this a worthy purchase. The deal is sweetened by a cut-out train station (also included in the download for those who want to keep their flexi-sleeve intact). Those who purchased the former work may put Gary Willis’ station next to their livery green bus.
Gilroy Mere (Oliver Cherer, also known as Dollboy) lives near St Leonards West Marina in Sussex, where he can hear the sound of the train as it passes without stopping. The platform remains, while the station has become a carpet warehouse (shades of “Big Yellow Taxi!”). While we’re guessing the artist was not alive in 1967 when budget cuts closed the station, he has a keen interest in history, as demonstrated in the video for “Over the Tracks,” the longest of the three pieces. There’s the old train, with its steam and window views. The jaunty music connotes a pleasant ride: a journey to a fun destination. Synth and mallets exude a bright tone. If one listens closely at 1:13, one can hear what may be a whistle or light brakes. White smoke alternates with black, but the mood remains upbeat. There’s a brief breakdown for the (literal) bridge. Finally the train pulls into the station, the final image a close-up of the number, set against another shade of green!
“Swallows” is a bit more bucolic, with guitar, bells and birds, conjuring images of the countryside as seen from a train. The synth sounds like a flute, completing the picture; and could that be a theremin, entering midway? Either way, the effect is otherworldly. The birds continue to frolic in “St. Leonard’s West Marina” as the tempo increases to a frantic pace, mirroring the effect of a train pulling from the station; bees enter too, but unless Cherer is referencing the climactic scene of “Risky Business,” the combination of birds and bees is not meant to be metaphoric. One can, however, glean a metaphor from the current state of the platform, covered by butterfly bushes: nature’s reclamation, honoring what was once there and is still remembered. (Richard Allen)