I LIKE TRAINS – The Shallows – Album Review
|Fans Of:||The National, Maybeshewill, Jeniferever|
|Label:||I Like Records|
|Download This:||Mnemosyne, In Tongues|
|Genre(s):||Indie Rock, Post Rock|
I LIKE TRAINS, I assume by the typeography it’s meant to be shouted. That’s what I’ve been doing in my head anyway. In stark contrast, the album itself if is a gorgeously mellow, swelling soundscape. The cover is beautiful, those of you who are cleverer than me will probably be able to tell me what artistic movement it’s inspired by, I can’t work it out. It’s been a good 16 years since I did any art history. “The Shallows” is the third album from Leeds denizens, ILT.
The first track comes in with a pounding synth stab that put me in mind of Pulp until the dreamy, minimal guitar licks come over the top. David Martins vocals are almost narrative in quality. Not powerful, not overdone, not underplayed, just wonderfully enunciated and clear. Like being told a very dark and chilling story. Wonderful. A thing that’s very clear from the opening track is that ILT are anything but predictable. I felt myself being led along a particular musical path only to be diverted off along a route I wasn’t expecting. No instrument really stands out, it’s just intelligently constructed to fit together.
The second track and first single, “Mnemosyne,” bring to mind the math-rock plucking of Foals but with a post-punk revival feel like The National or Wilco. Evocative and calming with a dark edge, “we will burn in hell for this,” goes the refrain. I can see this on a soundtrack somewhere in the future. “The Shallows” follows up in a similar vein. It almost sounds the sequel to “Mnemosyne,” in a way. It’s touches like this that says to me the band have thought about how to really present the album. An art which has dwindled in this MP3 stealing digital age. Albums tend to be collections of songs in one place, what ILT have done is present a story.
The album floats and swells, drifts and captivates. It pulls you in and won’t let go. It has truly been the first record I’ve heard this year that isn’t purely electronica that has inspired me in any way. No filler, all perfectly balanced. My only criticisms I have are the lack of dynamism and it’s too damn short. It’s restrained and that’s good, but just once or twice I’d love to have heard David really let go on that metered and calm vocal. That’s not to detract from the mood though. And although I said it was too short, I just wanted more because I’m a glutton. The climax of the album “In Tongues,” has the most wonderful ending. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but it feels unfinished, no closure. Absolutely captivating.
ILT will be releasing their album along with its first single “Mnemosyne” on the 7th May on their own label, ILR. A truly indie record for a time where everyone has all but forgotten what it means. I applaud you ILT, I shall be coming to see you, you have a new fan here.
3. The Shallows
5. The Hive
6. The Turning of the Bones
8. We Used to Talk
9. In Tongues
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