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Monday, January 23, 2017

Wire Train - Between Two Worlds

Name: Wire Train
Album: Between Two Worlds
Year: 1985
Style: Alternative, Jangle, New Wave
Similar Bands: Aztec Camera, Trashcan Sinatras, Dramarama, The Alarm, Waterboys, Psychedelic Furs
One Word Review: Tedious Poetic Landscape Ramblings
Based Out Of: San Francisco, CA
Label: 415 Records, Columbia, CBS
 Between Two Worlds: Cover, Notes, Record
Between Two Worlds: Back, Liner Sleeve, Record
Between Two Worlds (1985)
  1. Last Perfect Thing 3:52
  2. Skills of Summer 4:03
  3. When She Was A Girl 4:29
  4. God on Our Side 4:29
  5. Love, Love 3:15 /
  6. I Will 4:21
  7. No Pretties 4:25
  8. The Ocean 4:05
  9. Two Persons 2:54
  10. Home 3:35
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Kurt Herr - Vox, Guitar (The Renegades)
Kevin Hunter Vox, Guitar (The Renegades, Snot Puppies, Sheryl Crow, Bellanova, Sad Affair, Billy Idol, Simple Minds )
Brian MacLeod - Drums & Breath (Sleepers, Sheryl Crow, Group 87, Toy Matinee, Scrantones, Pink, Bangles, Kaviar, Steel Dragon, Dramarama, Paul Westerberg, Rosanna Cash, Wolf & Wolf, Grace Slick, DiVinyls, Jefferson Starship, Dream Academy)
Anders Rundblad - Bass, Vox (The Renegades, Sheryl Crow, Gary T'To Band, Motvind, Andy Prieboy, Chuck Prophet)
Peter Paul Skrepek - Guitar (The Renegades)
Peter Maunu - Producer, Vox, Guitar, Keys (Bernie Krause, LA Express, Group 87, Mark Isham, Patrick O'Hearn)
Dodie Shoemaker - Artwork/Cover
Greg Calbi - Mastering
Trudy Fisher - Photography
Micharl Frondeli - Remix
Ron Macleod - Sampler
Irma Maunu Kocian - Production Coordinator

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band. But it looks like it will be terrible. I've never been a fan of the tedious looking, blurry album covers, that seem to evoke a meandering song style that is void of hooks, and just drones on for longer than each song should last. The songs are more about a melancholy atmosphere than actual energetic or exciting production. 1986 does nothing to stray my thinking otherwise. 

Album Review:  Wire Train was active from the mid 80’s through early 90’s, putting out 5 major-label albums worth of music, six if you count the rejected album they self-released. They had some localized popularity, and even had a song make it into the Point Break film. Many of the band members went on to form the backing back to Sheryl Crow, and the drummer was part of the music collective that performed the opening credits to the American Office TV show.

“Last Perfect Thing” jams right into it with a pounding drum. Anthemic guitars play in support, only to be subdued to landscape-jangle pop once the vocals begin. The vocals are poetic as they overlap the minimal jangly music, reminding me of a subdued John Easdale of Dramarama. The chorus is a little more dynamic, incorporating the anthemic guitars back into the melody.
“Skills of Summer” starts with a jangly guitar, and glides into the dreamy, synth soundscape. The vocals sound wind-blown, and still have a poetic cadence. The urgency is raised in the chorus, but does not come off as threatening or urgent. The song ends with a more urgent refrain of the title, sung in the round.
“When She Was A Girl” has echoing, cave dripping synth chimes to start out the song. The guitars also sound grandious, echoing in there meandering, jangly loops. The song tries to build some momentum in the bridge, but the chorus pauses to suck the life out of the song…but not necessarily in a bad way, but in a reflective way. The bass is mixed to the front of the song as the song fades out the instrumental ending.
“God on Our Side” is a Bob Dylan cover. It kicks in to form a steady, upbeat rock tempo, under-laid with the jangle guitars, sounding much like the Alarm and other landscape-rock bands.
“Love, Love” begins with an echoing power pop guitar hook, and a rocking drum beat. Although there is still an echoing behind the vocals, reminding me of the Psych Furs, it is a very straightforward progressive rock song. Nearing the end, the song feels like it winds down, shedding musical layers to become a limping, reflective section, but it changes direction quickly, back into the catchy chorus.

“I Will” begins with slow jangly guitar strums, and then soars off with guitars to landscape rock land. The chorus has a guitar sound and hook that is relevant in the emo scene from a few years back. The song has a nice build to it, which is capitalized in the chorus.
“No Pretties” starts with quiet, swirling synth, and then the lead guitar starts in with a sad, reflective section. The song is gloomy and dark, taking me back to a Psych Furs comparison.
“The Ocean” has the same gloomy elements, but is recorded with a driving pace. Sterile, crystal, synth notes echo beneath the verse. The chorus is very good, however, with the way a supporting vocal sings Our Tears, as if in the round, on top of the lead vocals. It has very good timing, and makes a fun, interesting melody even better. It reminds me a little of EMF, actually, when it comes to the style of breathy, emotional vocals.
“Two Persons” sounds a lot like a Graham Parker or Elvis Costello song, anxious nasally vocals, and a thumping bass and drum beat. The guitar even sounds like it could be Elvis. The instrumental breakdown is back to the anthemic guitar sound, but it can be forgiven since the rest of the song is a great, driving ball of energy. The vocals are rushed through, and sound like they are just tumbling out of the singer’s mouth.
“Home” slows things down to a high school slow dance. The jangly guitar consists of slow chords and a bit of a waltz tempo, with a little of the song “Hallelujah’s” melody in the bass. 

Stand Out Track: Two Persons

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