Golden Age of Steam

first_imgBy Jack Marley-PayneiLiKETRAiNS are an interesting prospect: dressed in British Rail uniforms, bearded and surly, they play epic songs about obscure historical events (viz the assassination of British Prime Minister Spencer Percival). Thankfully, in person they are friendly and unpretentious- pretension being a quality they are keen to deny their music possesses. ‘The stories just seem to come to us,’ singer Guy Bannister explained. ‘Sometimes we hear about something that sticks in our mind – we don’t go out searching.’  This is well illustrated by the inspiration for their new single ‘The Deception.’ After a drunken night in Paris, trumpeter Ashley found a message saved on his phone instructing him to research Donald Crowhurst. The band discovered he had entered a race to sail around the globe and claimed to have achieved a record time. In truth, he had just been messing about in the Atlantic.Though the choice of topics seems impersonal, the band undeniably have a passion for the music. As each song reaches its inevitable climax, all members thrash their instruments with all their might. They explained that their aim is to ‘bring history to life.’ ‘The subject can be so dry in textbooks. Putting it in a song can help people empathise with the characters.’ This, however, can be hard to do when the lyrics are often little more than a few clichés said over and over – ‘I needed you like I needed a hole in the head.’The music itself is out of step with current fashion. Their songs often last well over five minutes and have long slow builds, a sharp contrast to the up tempo, dance friendly indie that dominates at the moment.  ‘We thought all that was going to end with Arcade Fire,’ Guy confessed. He believed Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party were good at what they did, but that the trend had run its course. Arcade Fire seemed to promise a return to more serious music with greater dynamic variation. As we all know this was not to be: superficiality has just kept rising since then. World conquering or not, they are keen to keep going. With a cult following, known as railcard holders, their tour is going well and they seem in good spirits (and clean to boot). Guy is already talking of a new album: ‘We definitely want it to be different but we’ve no idea how.’ This is an admirable sentiment since there is a distinct lack of variety on their most recent release. The aspirations of their music are promising and it certainly can be rousing. Its lack of invention and catchy melodies, though, mean it is unlikely iLiKETRAiNS will be starting a revolution any time soon.last_img read more