Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag US - Massachusetts - Full Moon 117 - 04/13/06

Hell Train
Three Ring Records

You know what Neil, it just maybe possible to burn out and fade away all at once, sometimes on the same album. And if you're really worth the retroist bullshit, you can make it sound isolationist and heartbreaking. Isn't that the contract between listener and artist in post-60s noise, acid guzzling, and - dare we say it... modern psychadelia? It's a novelty thing these days, and the unspoken opposition has a point: you can't really be that devoted to sherbet ice cream colors and your wa-wa pedal without wearing a marching band outfit, or contributing the Spongebob Squarepants: the Movie Soundtrack. If you're none of the above, you can get always job playing the in-between-scenes sequences band for the next Austin Powers movie.

In spite of all this, the guitars buzz on for the third Soltero record, sounding like a demented Roland e-keyboard on "The Prize". Just when you want to start singing "It's getting better all the time" - the full, back country squadron joins in and you've decided you're sold on the power of world peace, free, condomless love, and the trippy demons of the subconscious mind. Fuck Phish, let's get really crazy! Crack open that Byrds vinyl, light up that blunt, and let's do some quality, idealist Bush-bashing!

This ever changing line-up settling in various locations in the north east (from the bar-room indie of Boston to the RISD's stomping grounds in Providence, Rhode Island) has swelled from songwriter Tim Howard's solo act into this disorienting, psycho-dream, folk band. A disorienting, psycho-dream, folk band that shares venues with the likes of the Fiery Furnaces. From the creeps, spooks, and darkness of such chemical ballads as "Bleeding Hearts" and "Step Through the Door" you'd think they were of the mid-sixties Haight Ashbury and had done enough acid to fry 'em clear past Syd Barrett's padded cell. The obsessed marijuana advocates I've indicated in the last paragraph will be thinking: is that Mama Cass chirping like an American Nico in the rafters of "Hands Up"? Rub your eyes (or your ears) and suspend logical belief, it can happen. If you were too caught up into Nirvana or U2 in the late 80s/early 90s to catch up to the Lips' futuristic Transmissions from a Satellite Heart or Telepathic Surgery, here's your opportunity to make up for not having prophetic taste this decade 'round.

From the way Howard wishes and woes, there's no way he has been cruel to his woman at all. In fact, it's probably been the other way around. With him there are no more misconceptions now: fucked up country and sedated folk is back as the new standard for cool, literary breakups. Now that I mention it, it's been that way since Connor O'Burst became this decade's ultimate pinup for teenage girls between Eminem, Justin Timberlake, and Ben Gibbard. While we worry about the youth, I say cheerio to you Mr. Howard! Here's to that stupid bitch, Ms. Right, and may all these drugs get her to come on over and apologize for all that bullshit she's put us through.

Copyright © 2006 Matthew DeMello e-mail address

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