I Like Trains - He Who Saw The Deep (ILT)

I Like Trains mature for their new record.

Released Nov 15th, 2010 via ILR / By Robert Stockill
I Like Trains - He Who Saw The Deep (ILT) When iLiKETRAiNS first emerged onto the music scene four years ago with their EP Progress Reform, they were a band full of many little obscurities, with the funeral clothing they chose to wear on stage, the rather beautiful stop motion music videos produced by lead singer David Martin they used to accompany their songs, their obscure way of spelling their name, and of course the choice to base the lyrical content of their songs on some of histories darkest moments. All these elements produced a world surrounding the band that could be explored endlessly, with its dark morbid Englishness perfectly complementing the sometimes spare, sometimes brutal playing. But now I Like Trains return with an altogether less curious look about them, as well as being without their cornet playing projectionist, surely a sign of change. But does it still work?

Most of the older ‘Trains songs were built around the simple concept of super-silent-to-super-violent changes, a calling card of more well known post-rock outfits. However right from the start of He Who Saw The Deep, the album kicks off with much more of a pace to it, seeming to eschew the influence of bands such as Explosions in the Sky for a much more straightforward rock sound. This is truly refreshing for the band, who couldn’t help but feel a little formulaic on older releases, yet here sound renewed and revitalised. It’s an altogether more approachable feel whilst still tapping into the deeply sombre sound that is such a part of their appeal.

After the more high pace opening of ‘When We Were Kings’ and ‘A Father’s Son’ the album settles into a more spacious sound on track ‘We Saw The Deep’, yet the persistent, rolling drumming keeps the pulse from ever falling behind, with the chiming guitars and Martin’s characteristic baritone gently drawing emotion out of the lullaby-esque melodies.

Single ‘Sea Of Regrets’ however, feels like more familiar territory with its oh so slow build up gaining momentum piece by piece until assembling into a majestic wave of sound, burying the vocals into the distance. The song could have easily been dark and too thick, but instead it’s beautifully uplifting, and feels like a classic for the band up there with older tracks like ‘Terra Nova’ and ‘The Beeching Report’.

Whilst this album shows more restraint from ‘Trains in terms of pacing and volume, it still feels very inventive, and much less reliant on simply using volume and repetition for emotional power. The lightness that pervades the whole album fits Martin’s vocals perfectly, as the guitars glisten above creating a full yet never too thick sound.

He Who Saw The Deep manages to tread the line of being emotionally rich without the excesses that have made older releases by the band wear thin easily. It’s a much more durable collection of songs and feels by far their most confident and consistent one yet. In many ways I Like Trains have matured a lot and they sound rather brilliant for it.