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I Like Trains - Indie Music Review of iliketrains Band

Updated on August 31, 2011

Dance To The Radio!

It was a dark, damp windy night in Bristol.

The Cooler in Bristol is a small venue especially designed for the discerning indie lover. This venue gives you the feeling of dark cosiness as if ‘from some mother’s womb, just like any other room’ (Joy Division’s ‘Leaders of Men’). The day, the venue and the association with Joy Division is rather fitting for such a band that I Like Trains.

So, here lies the congregation of ‘death’ fans, decked out in black, for the most part, awaiting for ‘The Trains’ to reward them for their loyalty on turning out. ‘Decked’ in what looked like ship jackets, they didn’t disappoint. Ship jackets, I hear you ask? Why trade in their BR jackets for ship ones?

Well, I think they have moved on from the days of ‘The Beeching Report’ and are advocating a new look by trading in one for the other. This might have something to do with the brass player leaving and the release of ‘The Christmas Tree Ship’. Coincidently, or maybe not, with the advent of their new single ‘SEA of regrets’, it might be they are turning more ‘British Sea Power’, than!

However, ‘Trains’ have been performing for a number of years on the ‘Dance To The Radio’ label, so I guess it is ‘ding, ding, whistle’, time for a change! Other artists signed to ‘Dance The Radio’, inspired again by Joy Division, are the successful ‘Pigeon Detectives’ and ‘Forward Russia’, both enjoying top 40 UK chart success.

So, as you can see, they are in good company with good backing. In fact, on talking with their tour manager, it appears that he has organised gigs for the likes of ‘the Charlatans’ and ‘Klaxons’. Although instigated from the Manchester scene, it seems Leeds, where the label is based, is the place to be for music today.  The Kaiser Chiefs come from Leeds, I gather!

I Like Trains as a Four Piece
I Like Trains as a Four Piece

Jeffrey Loves Trains!

‘Jeffrey’, Bristol’s residential head-banging shoe-gazing indie dance-god, led the audience into a tribal, ritualistic death-rock. Essentially, he was zoning and by the end of the set, so were we all! Most of the set consisted of new tracks.

Talking to Guy Bannister (vocals, keys, guitar, web designer, backbone to the band extraordinaire and self-confessed control-freak!), the band will be recording the new album in Nottingham, after their tour. Their release of ‘Sea of Regrets’ is typical of ‘The Trains’. The big difference to the previous songs is the introduction of string harmonies.

Dave Martin’s drone, baritone voice compliments the loud/soft style leading the listener into a crescendo of tight ‘funereal’ type drum beats and screaming, orgasmic guitars. As Dave seems to munch upon the microphone with his beard and moustache giving the illusion of, somehow, being attached to him, the trio of guitars (Ian, a friend, has joined the band, temporarily for the tour) soar in unison.

This gives the sound real dimension, whilst the talented Alistair Bowis (bass, keys and vocals) continues with the ‘funereal’ theme by filling the link between drums and guitars. It seems that the new material is sadder in emotion, rather than angry and condemning. This is because the themes of the past material were based on tragic historical events, rather than thoughts of the future. This is their new direction.

Unfortunately, an encore did not happen as there was an 11 o’clock curfew in place, but ‘Spencer Perceivel’ was a fitting end to the set. Although, not the fault of the performers, the microphone sound was fairly muffled and it was a shame that their lyrics had be drowned by this.

However, I Like Trains are always approachable and interactive to their fans. This gig was no exception. The entire band were happy to sign merchandise and chat over a drink. They work hard at their craft, from responding personally on comments from the Internet, roading for themselves and writing imaginative new material.

I look forward to hearing their new album in the near future.

This work is covered under Creative Commons License

Spencer Perceval by I Like Trains

Spencer Perceval was the first British Primeminster to be assassinated.  I Like Trains tells the story uniquely in this track.  This song was a single released from the album Elegies to Lessons Learnt.

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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm alittle older, I'm a 70's & 80's sort of guy I love good rock music. What would you relate this bands style to something I might be familiar with? You write very well! Lots of enthusiasm and depth you may be generational limiting. I like what you wrote even tho I'm not familiar with the band. Keep it up!

    • Deborah-Lynn profile image


      9 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      So you found a unique way to release the tension that comes with motherhood, the dancing sounds really intense, sort of burning off extra energy, stress and mental overload!


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