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I Like Trains – The Shallows.

August 17, 2015
  • Label: I Like Records (ILR).
  • Year: 2012.
  • Style: Post-Rock / Post-Punk / Experimental Pop.
  • Format: CD / Vinyl / Digital.

I LIKE TRAINS, or iLiKETRAiNS, is a Leeds based band that’s been with us since 2006 which also marked the year of their debut release. I remember thinking of them as a goth influenced post-rock band and I have to say I still agree with my opinion back then even though I did hear something totally unique and unclassable take a more prominent form for each release. In 2012, after a couple of albums and several shorter releases, “The Shallows” came which somehow defines this odd atmosphere that’s been sneaking up through the years. While absolutely being a pop album and probably the most accessible one from I LIKE TRAINS, it’s not for everyone to grab and enjoy. The beats are mechanic, the guitar lines are repetitive, the vocals are dull and the lyrics are profoundly bitter and dark. The base is still post-rock guitars playing pop melodies (that sway from sweet to deafening) in a production that lay closest to post-punk. The overwhelming feeling I get from it is “cool” and my girlfriend experienced it as “oddly scary” and the more I think of it, it’s between these poles that “The Shallows” swing.
It’s one of those albums where every song is a favorite song. I might have heard the opening track “Beacons” a bit too many times now to still be amazed by it, as it’s also opening the (highly recommended) EP that was released about the same time. Second track “Mnemosyne” made it as a stand alone single to promote the album and I think it’s a great choice for a single. It displays pretty much what it’s about in a more uptempo and groovy fashion where the drums are almost presented in an electrofunk fashion, the thoroughgoing riff is quietly bubbling under a dense carpet of deranged choir like keyboards and the vocals are delightfully hopeless singing about the dangers of not being able to break destructive patterns.
Some of the other tracks I catch myself humming on could be the brokenhearted ballad called “Water/Sand”, the minimal interlude-like “The Turning of the Bones” and of course “Reykjavik” which includes the albums most intense near discharge the end.

“The Shallows” is one of my highest rated and most played albums from later years and I’ve successfully convinced almost every person I meet about its grandeur, which is also why I fully recommend this piece of odd pop to you now.


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