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4.8 out of 5 stars
Dark Black
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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Anyone who witnessed Kristina Train perform the instant classic that is the title track of her new album "Dark Black' on Jools Holland recently would have been instantly besotted and rushed to the download button. It is one of those songs that you feel you might have heard before with a frisson of some long lost ballad, a hint of J S Bach and something that you can't quite pin down. Its aching melody and wonderfully lush delivery by Ms Train, a New York-born and Savannah, Georgia-raised singer, deserves it to strain under the weight of plaudits and awards.

Kristina Train is not a product of TV music auditions or some "Joni come lately". Certainly there are similarities in the musical space she occupies to Norah Jones (not a bad thing!) but her template is cast from a much more bluesy backdrop. She has paid her dues with some of the best musicians treading the boards including the great Herbie Hancock, Chris Issak and has in the background assisting in songwriting duties the criminally neglected Ed Harcourt and her producer Martin Craft. Her last album "Split Milk" was fine but "Dark Black" raises her game to the premier division. While nothing quite touches the sublime beauty of the title track there is much here to be admired and devoured. The excellent Roy Orbison sounding "Dream of me" sounds like an authentic 50s jukebox ballad where she sings of a "Lonely life" that is "Always caught beneath the wheels/Broken by the night". Her cover of the tremendous Band of Horses ballad "No ones gonna love you" takes a slow turn, with a sparse electronica underpinning and is none the worse for it with a sensitive vocal by Train. Similarly she stirs the ghost of Billie Holliday in the melancholy of "Saturdays are the greatest" and there will barely be a dry eye in the house on her tender performance of "Stick together". There are couple of songs that are not quite so successful, for example "I wanna live in LA" (why would you?) is lyrically weak with lines such as "there is a place where there are blue skies and the sun shines every day", equally Trains mellow voice doesn't really carry the Winehouse style ballad of "Pins and Needles" with the requisite force. Small complaints however and the gorgeous "Ever-loving arms" makes up for these deficiencies and more.

Kristina Train is locating herself in the middle of genre that is not short of great singers. Madeline Peyroux and Melody Gardot immediately spring to mind and there are many others. Train's unique selling point however are those mesmerising melodies and a vocal style that does sometimes recall the late great Dusty Springfield. There is always a place in popular music for a sensuous chanteuse with a bag full of classic songs. Kristina Train has arrived on time and on this form the next part of her journey should be intriguing.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 November 2012
This album sees Kristina leaving the Blue Note label and the 'sub-Norah Jones' material of her first record "Spilt milk" for the Mercury label and a less jazzy, more pop/country sound. It really annoys me when female singers are compared to great singers of the past and people have been quick to compare Kristina to Aretha Franklin (?!), Nina Simone (?!?) with perhaps the most apt comparison being with Dusty Springfield. Kristina's voice is relaxed and laid back with a beautiful quality but she can also turn on the power when needed and overall she reminded me more of Lana Del Ray then any singers of the past.

The production by Martin Craft is good and very atmospheric, particularly on songs like the Band of Horses cover "No one's gonna love you". Kristina has worked with artists like Herbie Hancock, Chris Isaak, Scrapomatic and Robert Randolph and the Family Band but you would never guess that from listening to this record which I found a bit bland and lacking any strong emotion. Although I liked the songs "Dark black" and "Dream of me" I thought that quite a few of the other songs, such as "I wanna live in LA", were a bit throwaway.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2012
Yet another new to me singer(first seen on Later...) with an achingly beautiful voice. Dark Black proves to be such a consistently good album I had to hear her previous effort - Spilt Milk - and downloaded that as well(from i-tunes)without hesitation. Where has she been since 2009?
Influences from jazz, blues and everything else delivered effortlessly and seductively. She sounds at times like Dusty, Susan Tedeschi, Norah Jones et al but comparisons are pointless. Kristina Train is an original star in waiting. Buy Dark Black and wait impatiently for the next album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2012
This is such an amazing album. I have to confess that I had not heard of Kristina Train until I found her album by chance on Amazon. I have played it over and over again, and simply love it. Her voice is amazing as is the music which is very atmospheric. I would thoroughly recommend it.
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on 17 February 2013
I absolutely love this album and can't stop playing it. I first heard Kristina Train being played on the Ken Bruce show on Radio 2 and was immediately captivated by her vocals. On the strength of that one record (Dark Black) I bought the album and loved everything about it. Her voice is magical and as seductive and smooth as dark chocolate, her songwriting is inspired and the arrangements are fantastic. I love it when I 'discover' someone 'new' and Kristina is the first female voice I've loved since first hearing Rumer. Buy this album - you won't be disappointed!
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on 28 February 2013
First heard Kristina on Magic singing Dream Of Me. This album had not been released so bought her first album "Spilt Milk". Both albums are great and although some of the tracks were not instant they have grown on me and it is hard to fault any of them. I think Dream Of Me should have been a big hit but apart from Magic it did not seem to be played much on mainstream radio which is a pity. The album is smooth as silk and great to just put the lights out and relax to. I think Kristina deserves a bigger UK audience and wish her the best of luck.
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on 3 December 2012
First saw Kristina on the Jools Holland show, and loved her sound. Ordered the CD for delivery when launched. It arrived 6 November and we managed to listen to it twice before leaving home for the Amy McDonald concert at the Royal Festival Hall only to find that Kristina Train was guesting for Amy McDonald. What a win, win that was! Kristina was terrific. The songs on this CD are terrific. I don't think there is a track I don't like.

For me 'best buy' since Adele 21.

Highly recommended.
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on 7 April 2015
Some tracks just stick in the subconcious & never leave you! Her silky voice, the soul searching lyrics & beautifully produced musical accompaniment get replayed not just on my machine but in my head, coming unbidden like a sound track to parts of my life. Some tracks lack this powerful connection but they are still worthy of multiple plays. This album left me wanting more & I watch carefully in the hope that this artist will again find the inspiration & support to create a, for me, long over-due 3rd album.
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on 30 June 2013
I first heard Kristina Train singing Dark Black on radio 2 and was instantly drawn to her beautiful melancholy voice. I purchased the CD from Amazon a few months back and have been playing it constantly since. Its particularly enjoyable in the evening as her velvety tone and the ease with which she sings, just completely relaxes and chills. Genre wise its hard to define. To me its a mix of soul, country and soft blues. I love it. Definitley my favourite easy listening cd. Looking forward to the next one!
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on 21 May 2013
This album is great, I just had to have it. I heard a few seconds on tv in an advert and I said to my wife, who was that singing, I just loved her voice. Kristina Train, got on to internet and listened to Dark Black. Had to have it, so I got it up on my Amazon, hit the button and now I am listening to it on my five speaker setup, heaven. I also bought Spilt Milk at the same time. I think they are the only two albums she has.. Don't matter what she sings, although I like her songs. Its her voice.
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