I Like Trains are a post-rock band from Leeds that have had a long time to hone their sound. They first came onto most people’s radars during the Great Indie Boom of 2006, and then faded off most people’s radars almost as quickly. This new EP, ‘Beacons’, follows their third albums. The EP features the title track ‘Beacons’, familiar to fans of their third album ‘The Shallows’, and three brand new tracks. Despite having a silly name, I Like Trains here deliver an enjoyable four track EP of trademark gloom.
‘Beacons’, the eponymous track of the EP, pulses with a dark and pleasantly sinister energy from the opening couplet “I will be taking care of business, I’ll run it all into the ground.” The effect of early-Horrors electronics with a White Lies-esque vocal style within the aesthetics of Editors is captivating and truly compelling. This is indie music at its’ darkest and most powerful.
‘Rome’ also burns with this sombre electronic energy. More delicate than ‘Beacons’, it is reminiscent of The All New Adventures Of Us going to a funeral. The deliberately understated vocals and electronics make this an ambient and effective track, slowly layering up.
‘Easter Island’ continues the slow build, acting as an interlude of sorts for ‘Jericho’. A seething cauldron of emotion, there is menace in the softly-spoken lines such as “I’ll take your idle threats and I’ll see them through.” Lyrically, this EP is head and shoulders above a lot of other generic indie music out there.
‘The Setting Sun’, almost poetically, closes this EP. It has slightly more urgency than the rest of the EP, a faster beat but still a reserved nature to it’s’ undercurrent of malice. The synth sounds are stunning and reminiscent of The Horrors ‘Sea Within A Sea’. There is a masterful simplicity and calm to I Like Train’s sound that is belied by the introspective and darkly poetic lyrics. This EP is like a car crash in slow motion; deadly, yet beautiful, destructive yet compelling.
This is a brooding and understated effort for fans of Nick Cave or The Horrors. ‘Beacons’ never breaks out of an almost hypnotic rhythm throughout and is a mesmerising listen. It’s not one for all seasons, and its’ just as well winter is approaching as this is one to listen to on the upcoming cold, dark nights.
‘Beacons’ by I Like Trains is out now on I Like Records.
Words by Tom White (@whiteywitters)