LAST TRAIN HOME
"Time And Water"
(Adult Swim/Blue Buffalo Records)
Last Train Home, that name could have been made up by me, after the last notes of a concert, on my way to the train station! But no, it is a band from Washington D.C., already playing since 1997 and now seriously starting to rock the world, the bandmembers even resigned from their jobs! Frontman Eric Brace was the nightlife columnist for The Washington Post...
This is a nine piece (!) formation, introducing themselves with a very good sense of humor on the info sheet. With an extended line-up like that, it's possible to use every instrument ever invented for your CD. The danger will be lurking though, that the results bounce into any available direction. But for the album "Time And Water" these roots-rockers knew how to restrain themselves. There is variety indeed, the influences range from bluegrass (the murder ballad "See What Love Can Do") to soul with saxophone ("He's The Kind") and even Latin (the closing instrumental "Las Lagrimas del Pollo Rico"). Yet there's a certain unity, especially
Eric's warm voice puts its own mark on the songs, of which seven are from his hand. The cover "Walls Of Time", by Bill Monroe and Peter Rowan, is surprisingly transformed into a piece of guitar rock. And "All Right Okay", written by Eric's Washington Post colleague Mary Battiata, who fronts the band Little Pink, surprises pleasantly with the changes in tempo and yes, Mary herself sings harmony vocals!
What can we expect when it comes to lyrics, written by an imaginitive columnist? Nice approach of the usual hoopla about relationships: "A long train come and a mean engineer" ("Quarter To 3") and the man who can't decide to commit himself to something steady finds "A trail of yellow flowers leading from my backdoor to my car" ("Best Wishes"). Last Train Home is making plans for a European tour, do you think they will all fit together on one stage?
Written by Johanna J. Bodde (2003). Dutch original of this review previously published on Real Roots Cafe, The Netherlands.