Singles Going Single #167 - I-Rails "Same Old Me" 7'' (1988, Sloth)
The I-Rails may be virtual unknowns to most of you, but the band who would eventually succeed them by the early '90s, Primitive Radio Gods, made a splash with the sample-heavy, alterna-pop hit "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand." An appreciation for that loopy nugget isn't of any consequence when it comes to investigating frontman Chris O'Conners previous endeavor, the southern Cali based I-Rails, who traversed a far more linear path. Alongside this stunning 45, which I'll comment on in a moment, the band was responsible for four albums (all cassette only from what I understand) with the final entry, Panharmonium arriving in 1990. The I-Rails, particularly in their later years suggested the strain of power pop the Gin Blossoms would soon be serving to the masses, which while fairly conventional was far from a bad thing.
O'Conner's soaring pipes color "Same Old Me" with an ambitious flair, encroaching into Bono territory at times, but it's the doubly impressive b-side, "Everyone's In Love" that's the true keeper, evoking the punchy ebb and flow of latter-era Replacements and Dramarama. I will be sharing the I-Rails' Panharmonium tape in the near future, but if anyone out there can help me out with the three preceding albums don't be a stranger. A very special thanks to Chris for hooking me up with an original copy of this wax.