Over the last few years Leeds-based I LIKE TRAINS have built up a record label (named ‘I Like Records’, of course), whilst continuing to release high quality post-rock albums. After the glacial beauty of 2010’s aquatically-themed ‘He Who Saw The Deep’, the quintet have now re-emerged with an album based on man’s relationship with technology.
If ever there was a sign of man being dominated by machine it’s in the primtive electronic pulse throbbing through ‘Beacons’ but even though a sense of coldness and austerity is more redolent this time around, I LIKE TRAINS always ensure there’s a human heart beating. It’s there in the swooning single ‘Mnemosyne’ or the defiant ‘In Tongues’. Most brilliant of all, however, is ‘Water/Sand’; a song which merges glimmering guitars, military drums and ghostly harmonies to almost hymnal effect. Even if the second half of the record doesn’t quite match the first (‘Reykjavik’ would have fitted in better thematically and sonically on the last album), I LIKE TRAINS remain a classy proposition.
In some ways, not much has changed in I LIKE TRAINS’ world: the mood is one of controlled despair, there is still a concept of water, the songs are slow-paced and David Martin still half-sings/half-narrates like some prophet of doom. More importantly, they have their own sound and if you must consolidate, an album as good as ‘The Shallows’ is the way to do it.
British Sea Power, Echo And The Bunnymen, Sigur Ros