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The Shallows - I Like Trains

While a nod to the fact that The Shallows is based around the concept of the Pulitzer Prize nominated book is in order, the latest album from I Like Trains really should be viewed as standing alone. The theme, of course, is heavily linked to the novel the idea of the internet changing the way we think is something that runs through both, although I Like Trains choose to interpret this with darkly moody tracks. The electronic beat underscoring the songs lends a sense of menace and creeping doom that draws comparison to White Lies and Joy Division yet lacking the fervour and passion that ignites the latter's albums.

That's the issue with The Shallows - while it's a step forward from I Like Train's previous work, it feels like they haven't quite reached their destination yet, caught between their past albums and the sound they're aiming at. The Shallows is technically very good, but there's no hook, nothing that stands out or remains memorable even worse, at times it creates almost soporific effects.

Mnemosyno, towards the end, begins to hint at a more lively sound but sadly comes to an end before it can even get off the ground. It feels like a constant build up to a climax that just isn't ever achieved - and frankly, the whole album echoes that. I Like Trains are striving for a sound that is just out of their grasp and you find yourself wishing that they'd manage to get there.

While it does stray into dangerously beautiful territory - the album overall is orchestral and rich, complex and layered - I Like Trains just feel too much like they're holding back with this album, restraining it from what it has the potential to be. The embers are burning, boys - now is the time to light the fire.