EP REVIEW: Kristina Train “Dream Of Me”

Kristina Train is an artist who was not afraid to dream big, but also understood the practicality of her chosen career. As opposed to simply walking in to a record deal blind, she heeded her mother’s wise words and undertook a degree first. The diversion may have postponed her inevitable success in her chosen field by a handful of years, but when a talent is as accomplished as Train, there is little that will hold her back.

Having already established her solo career Stateside with her 2009 debut “Spilt Milk”, Train is teasing UK audiences with the sublime three track EP “Dream Of Me” ahead of her debut UK album “Dark Black”. The move is a clever one. With audiences currently unaware of her dynamic vocal or skilled songwriting, she has picked three differing angles with which to introduce her.

Train is a fusion of Diane Birch, Shelby Lynne, Shea Seger, Mama Cass, Nerina Pallot and Sarah MacLachlan. She is intoxicating and enticing, without ever being overpowering. She skilfully colours her vocal to prompt a reaction.

At her strongest, the EPs chillblain inducing title track “Dream Of Me”, Train uses her epic presence to knock her listener for six. “Lonely Summer” brings a grinding Shea Seger to fore. The blustery blues within Train’s contained vocal is never fully unleashed, but nonetheless pulls all the right heartstrings. Closing with her most radio friendly fodder, Train delivers a winsome, wishful “I Wanna Live In LA”. While “I Wanna Live In LA” is optimistic pop, Train’s sensational vocal is sidelined in favour of an approach-ability.

By placing the standout track first, “Dream Of Me” wilts at first listen, but each of the three songs has the power to stand alone. As an introduction “Dream Of Me” serves Train well-let’s just hope “Dark Black” is scintillating, stirring and diverse as her EP suggests.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

ALBUM REVIEW: The Unconventionals “Flower To The People”

Record Label: Western Songs
Release Date: 26.07.2010

If the name sounds familiar, then you may want to cast your mind back to the 2006 series of the X Factor. The Unconventionals (albeit with a slightly different line up), made it all the way to the top twelve, before being booted off in week one. Four years later they are back with their debut album “Flower to the People”.

A little reticent when first asked to review this album, I can honestly admit that after my second listen, it’s definitely a grower. Two listens are definitely required to get your head round the 60/70’ throwback feel, something which is actually quite refreshing in a world where the charts seem to be constantly bombarded with yet another R & B sensation.

The group describe themselves as “kitsch, harmony and fun!”, and “Flower to the People” is certainly this. With a collection of songs as sunny and bright as the album cover, I challenge you not to find yourself bopping along to this album.

The Carpenters, Mama Cass, and The Mamas and Papas are listed as the influences and it is easy to see this in tracks such as “Everything’s Easy”, and the Mamas and Papas classic “Dedicated to the One I Love”. “Strawberry Sunshine” has the feel of The Fifths Dimensions “Aquarius”, about it, and is definitely one of the highlights of the album.

The only track that seems slightly out of place is the cover of The Sugababes “Push the Button”. Although the group faultless harmonies abound, for me it just doesn’t sit well with the other chosen tracks on the album.

Andrew, Kelly, Drew, Laura, Mel and Tom want to bring “Sunshine pop back into vogue”, but I’m not sure today’s younger generations are ready for this. One thing is for certain, this is definitely a marmite album. You’ll either love it or hate it, but there is no middle ground!

Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Kim Harrell

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