Sound: Most musicians will know about the band Train due to their big hit single "Drops of Jupiter" off of this album same titled record. Train have been said to be another Counting Crows type band with their folk rock inspired songs but I'd like Train to be known as their own unique band, let me further indulge you. Each song on this record sits back and lays basking more or less in another genre. The title track is your perfect radio hit for the general population as it was back in 2001. But if you look behind that song you'll find that Lead Guitarist Jimmy Stafford(the bald one) really povides this record with superb guitar flourishes, slides, mondolin work, and more slide work and he does this without going over the top. Infact you'll find his slide work is the driving force behind 95% of the songs. Vocalist, Pat Monahan weaves his gentle voice in and out of verses, choruses and bridges while telling us stories with his sightful lyrics. Scott Underwood's drumming strolls along and is quite relaxed. The bass work is usually done by Charlie Colin but Rhythm Guitarist Rob Hotchkiss is credited with bass work aswell and vice versa with Charlie Colin handling rhythm guitar. They both do well and serve each song with groovy fills as needed.
Train's self titled debut was along the same lines as the counting crows, folky pop rock if you will. This album has some country influence(Let it Roll), Loungey Pop with R&B'ish grooves(Getaway & Mississippi) Pop Rock(Drops of Jupiter, She's on Fire) and some alternative rock(Whipping Boy). Nver failing to dissapoint, Producer Brendan O'Brien(STP, Incubus) and his mixing really gave this album it's clean & smooth grooves which makes makes you, the listener, at ease. // 9
Lyrics: Pat Monahan's lyrics are mature if anything. Through the eye's of a 30 something man, he tells us stories which captivated myself anyways and I'm not one to usually really listen to the lyrics. That being said, his voice can get a litle high pitched here and there but apart from that he can really belt it all out without much effort. The backing vocals are a wonderful surprise. All members of the band contribute and help with the dynamic soundscape. // 7
Overall Impression: Out of Train's 5 records, Drops of Jupiter seems to top them off. They have a unique sound on this particular album that is hard to top. Jimmy Stafford is the highlight here. As I previously wrote, his slide work dominates the soundscape and he works it well. Here is a song by song review.
01. She's On Fire: the band's 2nd single. It has a nice feel and some decent slide but a bit too mainstream for my taste.
02. I Wish You Would: this is the band rootsy feeling tune. Jimmy provides us with mandolin work and Pat with his harmonica. A good song but is missing something, and I'm not quite sure what that is.
03. Drops Of Jupiter: the band's 1st single and big hit which got them all sorts of grammy awards. With nice string sections, good vocals/lyrics by Pat, groovy drums and Jimmy's occasional guitar licks this one feels better developed than she's on fire.
04. It's About You: this one falls flat for me. Instrumentation is good but the vocal delivery isn't.
05. Hopeless: five songs in and we have the first winner. This one has great acoustic rhythm work, great backing vocals, easy flowing drums, melodic bass lines and excellent riffs by Jimmy.
06. Respect: probably the "hardest" driving track but it feels repetative. Big guitars by both Jimmy and Rob.
07. Let It Roll: my favorite. This one has a country feel but it's not over immersed in that flavour. The ambient backdrop is what captives me. Scott's drumming rolls along but again Jimmy's lap slide and guitar riffs are what make this song so inviting and smooth to the listen. But hey...that's just me.
08. Something More: the 3rd single. Slide work and piano is more prominent here but this feels like a better single as it's not as accessible.
09. Whipping Boy: a nice wall of guitars intro and then slows down to a driving beat by Scott Underwood. The layering of guitars is especially a positive.
10. Getaway: this one is tied with letn it roll for my favorite. It's a loungey smooth riding tune. The choruses where "Getaway..." is sung by all the band is a piece of ear candy. The rhythm guitars create a nice backdrop of riffs and licks.
11. Mississippi: the final track is a great way to end the album. Starting with a bass lick and then moving into a drum track(or sample) and Jimmy's acoustic guitar keeping the same riff for the full 5 minutes or so. Pat also provies us with his Trumpet creating a smooth jazz feel for this one. Again very calming and nice to listen to in complete silence.
With respect this album really can't compare to their other albums. I hope everyone that someone is able to enjoy this record in their own way... To Getaway... // 9