Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

Cars & Trains

The Roots, the Leaves

(Fake Four; US: 26 Jan 2009; UK: 1 Mar 2009)

Review [15.Mar.2010]

Tom Filepp, perhaps better known by the moniker of Cars & Trains, is a multi-instrumentalist who merges electronic blips and pops and strange toy noises with folk to partake in a hybrid genre filled by Mt. Eerie and lesser known (but equally impressive) acts like Radical Face and Sin Fang Bous.  Americonica?  Electrocana?  Whatever name you’d like to give it, the quality of the music is what matters most, and that is an element far from lacking on The Roots, the Leaves.  Armed with a banjo, glockenspiel, drum kit, and some processed effects, Filepp excels at creating memorable melodies that have a paradoxically somber sing-song style to them, like commiserating at a funeral over inside jokes.  Further still is the narrative style of Filepp’s lyrical delivery, akin to a story by firelight, somehow familiar and accessible.  Stand-out songs such as “Asleep on a Train”, which stresses a need for anonymity, and “Drop Ceilings and Daily Planners”, with its expression of cubicle escapism, embody the homespun feel of the album as a whole.  Fittingly, as a total experience The Roots, the Leaves is an audio riding of the rails across the States, filled with a sensation of permanent transience across a landscape that is more than the just the sum of its parts.  Sounding like a mixture between indie darlings Sufjan Stevens and Why?, Cars & Trains creates a lush and textured environment full of idiosyncratic lyrics and a sense of melancholia that charms its way into your life.

Rating:

Media
Related Articles
23 Jan 2013
We Are All Fire, as an album, has a scope, a reach and a certain focus. If only the songs didn't just end mid-stream.
15 Mar 2010
Cars & Trains' second album is full of low-key acoustic indie-pop backed by laptop-style electronic sounds. It's a combination that works, but it's nothing groundbreaking.
By David Berry
19 Feb 2009
With the exception of a handful of remixes, there's nothing here that hasn't already been heard on both the original Rusty String and the Little Song EP.
8 Jan 2008
An album of contrasts it may be, but Rusty String showcases some excellent songwriting in amongst the amalgamation of electronica and more organic sounds.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.