Rosaville Music (label)
18 January 2021 (released)
18 January 2021
Here’s an 80’s sounding, pure-pop resounding album from a group who actually remember that era.
Londoner’s Daniel Takes a Train - Paul Baker (lead and backing vocals), Dan Synge (guitars, synths and backing vocals), James Hannington (drums and percussion), Jez Groves (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Paul Davey (saxophones and clarinet) - should’ve been contenders way back in that decade. Flirting with fame and on the edges of the success game, things just didn’t happen. However, that was then and this is definitely now.
Thirty years on and this second album ‘Last ticket to Tango’ (following 2018’s demos turned gems ‘Style, Charm and Commotion’) parlays, relays and regales with thirteen vignettes of vanquished dreams, eroding locales, dashed desires and romantic redemption.
Throughout the upbeat mood (a shout out to Pat Collier’s pristine production) exhilarates even when the subject matter requires closer introspection. ‘My Town’ is a sparkling act of defiance, a passionate defence of the erasure of once hustling and bustling small communities. Trampled underfoot by US-style consumer mausoleums, soulless and deathless, the stench of secondhand strafes the high streets (‘selling finery of the deceased’) and the close-knit has become unstitched. As Baker soars into the chorus ‘It once stood tall, but now it’s on its knees’ this takedown of ‘progress’ and sadness at what was still has this song of praise behind it.
In amongst the group’s uniquely idiosyncratic style there are also faint and subtle echoes - dramatically, schematically and thematically - (to these ears anyway) of contemporaries The Housemartins’ political joie de vivre (‘Honeymoon’), Deacon Blue’s poptimistic dialogues (‘Dreaming of a better day’), ABC’s surface ‘is’ depth pop-sheen (‘Last ticket to Tango’), The Smiths’ escape the doldrums dreams (‘North’), Fun Boy 3’s special s.k.a. (‘Sleeping with the enemy’) and Julian Cope’s wide-screen jerky-pop especially evident on –in true 80s spirit - the superb ‘Club Mix’ of ‘My Town’.
Keep your dreams: as Daniel takes a Train are demonstrating they can and will come true. If you want it (and wait) enough.