Top positive review
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5 Years Down The Line...
on 4 July 2003
What with Train's third album and brand new opus, 'My Private Nation', just being released, and with an increasing amount of pop-rock acts at it's highest capacity in years, what better to do than go back to where it all started from one of the finest southern-styled rock and rollers.
Both of the last two albums by San Francisco's Train have been enthralling examples of how rock and roll should be in the new millennium. Memorable tracks, including great rockers mixed with some powerful, often string laden ballads, including the unforgettable 'Drops Of Jupiter' from the album of the same name, mixed with a little Southern comfort. Country-esque guitars, combined with a satisfying sense of great pop and Pat Monahan's vocals, perhaps one of the best vocalists in the US right now, make for music that is enjoyable and certainly unforgettable. Unfortunately, it's the same old story with Britain. Our problem is we don't seem to be able to accept good music anymore. A country once the kings of the musical world, ruled by rock and roll, by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and of course The Beatles, is now over-ruled by simple, and I have to say, dismal pop music. It's depressing to say the least.
Now with Train's third album to date being released, they're taking another stab at us, as their beloved America is already smiling upon them. So let's go back a few years...
Many say throughout their second album, 'Drops Of Jupiter' released in 2001, they were at their most consistent, and sounded the best they ever have. Not strictly true. Train have always had this much-desired ability to write fine, memorable music. Take opener, 'Meet Virginia', it's playful, has a superb soaring chorus, and the lyrics are a fine example of 'Boy wants Girl', and it is memorable. I couldn't stop singing and humming the song after I'd heard it. And that carries on through the thoughtful, 'I Am' where Monahan questions himself on whether or not he is the person he thinks he is, but is actually, as it turns out, a confused love song. 'If You Leave' uses Train's extendable abilities to the full, Monahan's voice taken nearly as far as it can on the soaring chorus, with the guitars and drums in full workout. I say Train's abilities as musicians are extendable, because as a band they know how to use what they can do, and use it well, and they can actually play their instruments, but at times seem to prefer to hold back and take it easy, because they know that they can save themselves for those epic big songs, and can do simple acoustic tracks, such as, 'Blind', just as well. 'Blind' a song mainly about growing up, and growing older, is one of the first signs of true sincerity from Train, and at this stage it's already hitting you that 'Train' (the album), has a very confused feeling about it. Contemplations about growing old, identity, and newfound fame are scattered throughout, providing Train some mature and grown up song writing, with this only being their debut. More fine examples of song writing, are the 'not like anything else' soft of, 'Eggplant', the soaring, 'Rat', which again uses Monahan's full and powerful voice, to it's capacity, as it should be used, and once again, providing a memorable song that sticks in the mind, the beautifully acoustic, 'Swaying' which makes you envision standing by your loved one, dancing on the kitchen floor, mostly...well, swaying. Dreamy and catchy, it's another advantage to Train's song writing.
So at 'Train' proves, Train were a strong band, with powerful songs right from the start. Memorable tracks that stick in your mind make for numerous plays of a great album. Uplifting, moving and ultimately satisfying, Train's debut album is not only unbelievably strong for a debut, it might even top their sophomore album, 'Drops Of Jupiter', and perhaps their brand new example of great song craft, 'My Private Nation'. Train are a band that demands that you hear them. Catchy, memorable, thoughtful, at times almost sexy and funky, but as already said, satisfying, and they've always proved just why they are one of the finest bands to come out of the US in years. Now if only Britain could gain a few brain-cells and get their ticket and jump on board...