I have never considered Pokémon or magic the gathering to be punk but Midland Railway do just that in their song Pokémon Adventure. The game is evocative of when the school bell rang for lunch only to find it’s raining outside. No football, no fresh air nothing to do until your friend whips out a packet of card games. These simple pieces of paper transport you to worlds that have no bad weather, no limitations. The expanses of your imagination and the power dealt to you from some glossy paper made these gaming experience unique but accessible to all, old and young.
Playgrounds to office parties 150 million of us still play Pokémon go, not quite the beloved dog eared card game version most of us know but a modern digital way of going out with friends on quests that keep you active and entertained. But this is the theme for their song, adventures are really about the importance of friendship, sacrifice in the name of love for others, questing to protect those that have saved us. Sharing our triumphs and downfalls with those closest, yet when all you share is that of solitude and the fuzzy white glare of the cold stare of a computer screen late at night, it’s easy to become indulged in despair relying on these pixel pieces that bare little resemblance to a person for our humanity and reassurance.
Reality may be a painful place but at least its reliable, it’s raw and rough ready for you to be captured and explored. Everyday a quest occurs whether that’s getting out of bed or having a successful marketing pitch. Loneliness is an abyss that can so quickly become addictive, we stick with fantasies because our imagination never leaves us, but if we have no one to share our beautiful minds the magic of the false can dwindle. You have to make life your own and you can’t do that if you don’t leave the simulation.
Their latest single General Debility seems to discuss the ordeal that this can be. Mournful yet poignant, it resonates with the listener who longs for more from life, which is still on that quest but has run out of hints, out of special characters and feels completely alone, like a glitch in the system, an unwanted outcast. But there is a place for us all, you have to continue rattling around the same patch before you stumble upon a new one.
Midland Railway have followed suit on this path, entertaining audiences with quirky, emotive songs that transport a listener back to the magical lands of our youth. Based in Manchester this band is pervasive in its influence not just because it’s members are scattered from Scotland to Spain but because of the band’s artistic ability to experiment with nostalgic sounds to create a symphony that heralds friendship and loss, playfulness and severity.
They’ve already made 2022 their own with several live performances this January and another planned for the 17th of February at the Aatma in Manchester supporting Midnight exhibition, tickets are to be released at a later date so head to the band’s Instagram for that. They have also performed with The Redeemers who feature on this blog, find them here.
In my podcast episode we talk unusual influences, new faces and broken hearts. Meet the members of this creative, colourful band that sings dark topics and mystic lands.