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iLiKETRAiNS - Elegies to lessons learnt
Reviewed by Andreas on 25th November 2007
It's taken me more than a month to complete this review, and it's not just because we've been quite lazy here at rawkstar.net
iLiKETRAiNS' debut album, "Elegies to Lessons Learnt", is one of the harder albums to objectively review - the music is obviously challenging and intelligent, and perhaps because of that is something you'd either like or not. In other words, it took me a while to decide if I was going to take on board those lessons we've already learnt, or go in search of newer things...
Between the rythmic beatings of drums and sticks, iLiKETRAiNS' Dave Martin sings that "this town is burning down". Dark stuff indeed. The line makes up the chorus for "Twenty Five Sins", a song that as far as I can gather (and, ahem, cheat from the press release) is about the Great Fire of London. The song itself is a suitable example anyway, as it illustrates just what type of songs iLiKETRAiNS write. Songs about the deterministic aspect of human nature and events whilst giving homage to the men and women who neeearly made it into the history books as winners instead of the runners up (or dead, as the case may be).
Pretentious? I'd say yes, but that hardly matters when the deliverance is good. With songs like the single "The Deception", a 3 minute epic post-rock anthem, ...TRAiNS tap into a genre that is quite often full of drivel and add some long-needed pop choruses. The lyrics, about a failed and faked trip around the world in a boat, also give the entire thing a lovely/sad edge. 9-minute political drama number, "Spencer Percival" is another highlight, detailing the murder of said PM back in the violent heyday of British history.
If there has to be a low point, it would be the slower numbers. iLiKETRAiNS are forever climbing those crescendos, and these work best in the somewhat more... I'd venture for the word "upbeat" here, but there is very little that could be described as upbeat on "Elegies...". The driving moments on the records are those that hit you the hardest. The slower songs, "Death of an idealist" and "The Voice of Reason" are rich on atmosphere, whereas witch-hunt story "We Go Hunting" gets the blood pumping, with it's rolling drums and quicker pace.
In the midst of stories about failed explorers, murders, witch hunts, fires, plagues and what have you, lie one of the most exciting albums you'll find at the moment.
Buy It Now: amazon.co.uk
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"We go Hunting" is one of my favourite songs from the album, that and "The Deception".
It is a shame that it can all start to sound a bit rehashed on record, especially since they are one of the best live bands around.
27th November 2007 @ 09:03:03 GMT