Check it out: there are no guitars in “Last Train From London,” which could make it the first train song in pop music history that cannot rely on a guitar to create the train vibe. No worries, however—a percussive piano motif does the trick, with a complementary bass and drum part; some well-timed hand claps help too. Even the horns manage to get in on the act; spurred by the chugging percussion, they do, also, contribute to the train-iness of the music, in a subtle and unexpectedly Burt Bacharachian way.
And there certainly are horns aplenty here, as the long-dormant Salteens, now eschewing guitars, expanded from five to ten to create their new. brass-infused sound. The energy is sparkly, and yet the horns play with a wonderful delicacy—there’s no blaring, and no self-conscious “cue the horn charts” kinds of moments; the feel is very ’60s, somewhat soulful, and rather British, even though the band is from Vancouver. Front man Scott Walker brings Stuart Murdoch to mind, but sings with more infectious exuberance than Belle & Sebastian’s mastermind.
“Last Train From London” is the opening track on Grey Eyes, which was released in October on Boompa Records. Note that the band themselves started the label in 2003, to release their second album; note too that the label has since acquired a roster of more than 15 artists, while the Salteens themselves released nothing at all. Situation at long last rectified. MP3 via Boompa.