I Like Trains – Sirens E.P.


With the Sirens E.P., I Like Trains continue their evolution in sound and style. From the hazy, reverb-drenched post-rock of their debut album to their more melodious and meditative second, I Like Trains have undergone a striking change, and on this new E.P. the band continue their trajectory towards a more consonant sound, complete with sparse instrumentation and introverted themes.

“Sirens”, lifted from last year’s He Who Saw The Deep, is lugubrious and somewhat reminiscent of ol’ touring buddies British Sea Power. The song begins with dramatic lone drums before a minimalist verse of fuzzy bass and undulating harmonics edges its way towards a soaring, sinister chorus with a booming-whisper of a vocal. It was one of the best on the album and, for all its ominousness, it remains instantly memorable; very much a strong and worthy choice for release.

After the title-track comes the previously unreleased “Flood”. Similarly understated, the song is a simple and sombre lament, mournful and evocative of its title. Like “Sirens”, track three “A Fathers Son” is also taken from the band’s second album. Presumably included to provide some respite from the dour gloominess, the song is one of their most conventional and is upliftingly bittersweet. It is curiously similar to one of Hope Of The States’ brighter moments.

By “A Kingdom You Deserve”, the second previously unreleased song on the E.P., the band’s new(ish) formula wears a little thin. What sounds like a slightly lumbering album outtake, it fails to take-off in the manner suggested by its upbeat intro. The E.P. is, however, boosted by two bonus songs – both commendable remixes of the title-track. The 48K Mix transforms “Sirens” on a techno-fied platform with bleeps and glitches and loops, while the Dave De Rose Mix compliments the existing menace with absorbing and reflective atmospherics. No token cheap remixes, here.

Sirens E.P. provides a largely impressive set of songs and documents a band captured in the middle of a transitional period. If I Like Trains could find a way to combine the cinematic grandeur of their earlier work with the personal and emotive qualities of this E.P., they could make quite a record. For now, they are still searching. . .

[Rating: 3]

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.