iLiKETRAiNS: Still loving ’em.
I probably should spend my limited energy fighting and worrying about the big injustices of the world: y’know, poverty, discrimination, inequality, environmental destruction, Boris Johnson, and the like (please note these are not necessarily commensurate). Yet of late I’ve found myself getting irate about how the fucking Kooks – the aural equivalent of an out-of-date pack of egg mayo sarnies – can get so much airplay and be so popular when the sublime beauty of iLiKETRAiNS get over-looked and barely half fill the Roadhouse in Manc a couple of weeks or so back (yep, this review is late again…blame neo-liberalism).
Let’s be honest: most people passionate about music love the exclusivity of the obscure and the little-known. However, there are times when I want to the whole god-damned world to hear music of the finest quality like iLiKETRAiNS. Yet such a desire always comes with the fear that the larger a band gets the worse they might become. Not that popularity means a loss in quality – the Arcade Fire can fill out the MEN arena so the ‘big=bad’ equation just don’t hold. But then the fucking Kooks exist and get to number 2 in the album charts so there’s an inherent tension to any discussion of good music and popularity.
Anyroadup, the Trains were on fine form again. New single ‘We go hunting’ was suitably sinister and disturbing, ‘Spencer Perceval’ was as cacophonously affecting as ever and a new song (seemingly about sea-level change from what I could gather from lyrics and visuals) bodes enormously well for the future. Plus, amongst the stories of madness, death, deception and despair the band manage to remain strangely cheery in their banter with the lucky few gathered.
They’ve also just released a DVD version of ‘Elegies to Lessons Learnt’ (teaser here). Taking the form of an animated film, the central character is dragged through history (via some sort of time travelling telegraph pole) and dropped into the various stories the songs explore. Having watched the trailers before purchase, I was concerned that the film might have the look and feel of an A-level visual art project. Yet whilst we’re not talking top-end CGI here the film only adds to the experience of the album. The closers of ‘Epiphany’ and ‘Death is the End’ contain some genuinely moving and unsettling visual moments. You’ll see what I mean when you buy it here and their music here.
Listen to these and fuck the fucking Kooks