John Jenkins, Trains. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

In the world of art, in whatever shape or form it should take, the brave, the courageous and those that dare stare into the face of the oncoming light are always those that should be highly prized. For some, just playing a guitar, penning an verse or putting a half made bed together and throwing a little bit of rubbish into the sleeping arena is enough to constitute a day well spent, that is fine, each to their own but it is like comparing The Orient Express to the coach pulled monstrosities that inhabit the tracks of Britain today, anything can be a train but it takes class and passion to be in a special group of Trains.

For John Jenkins the summer has been productive, a barrage of singles has wetted the listener’s appetite and the deep rumble on the tracks is more than corporeal, more than earthly, for in those songs is a passionate man who has opened up his soul, the windows on each carriage is alight, blazing out and blurring the shadows; passion is the key word in a set of songs that are personal and enlightening.

There are not many people living today who would have had the joy of getting on one of the truly remarkable machines that used to run the length of the isles, to have enjoyed the sumptuous feeling of rumbling pleasure, yet most can still invoke the age of steam in our minds, the names of the mighty muscular engines that took our grandparents to unknown parts and beyond. In John Jenkin’s latest album, Trains, the feeling of being pulled gently, without an ounce of effort troubling the listener, with the knowledge they are being safely to the musician’s chosen destination is one in which to revel; this muscular might of lyrical strength is enough to invoke memories of a different time but one that is romantic and passionate enough to live in a time when passion usually means lust.

Produced by Jon Lawton and featuring the talents of Amy Chalmers, Helen Maher, Marc Vormawah, Vanessa Murray, Stephanie Kearley, Scott Poley and Denis Parkinson, songs such as The Paris Wife, Sweet Delphine, the bittersweet memories of listening to the music that defined the emergence of the British pop phenomenon in That Girl Is Going To Make You Cry and the beautiful Her Soldier Boy, which is captivating and complete with the exceptional Vanessa Murray by his side; John Jenkins makes the album’s engines purr with delight before devouring up the miles in the listener’s heart.

Trains, the most remarkable feature of the nation, John Jenkins is the master of them all.

Ian D. Hall