Monday, April 09, 2007

review: iLiKETRAiNS - "Spencer Perceval"

Question: Who’s doing what iLiKETRAiNS are doing? Answer: No one, at least, no one as good as they’re doing it. The boys from Leeds create what’s been tagged "library rock," taking people and events from history and writing songs about them, often in the voice of the subject. Their debut EP, issued in the UK last year, Progress Reform, features tracks like Terra Nova (about Robert Falcon Scott’s failed South Pole expedition), The Beeching Report (about British railway reformer Richard Beeching) and A Rook House For Bobby (about exiled US chess prodigy, Bobby Fischer). Entertainment AND education? Yes! It’s like Schoolhouse Rock, v.2. And an added bonus...they often perform in matching British railway uniforms. Come ON man, it’s everything you need in one place; a parade, a concert and a history lesson.

Fresh off their debut US show at SXSW (from which the photo above comes), iLiKETRAiNS have issued their first single for Beggars Banquet, a two song offering and unlike anything I’ve ever seen...a "concept" single. The A side, Spencer Perceval, is a 9+ minute spectacle written from the view of John Bellingham, the man responsible for the assassination of Perceval, who was British Prime Minister at the time of his death. The B-Side, I Am Murdered, clocks in at over six minutes and is written from Perceval’s side. The title quotes Perceval’s words immediately after being shot. If you’re familiar with iLT’s previous work, the elements are all there on Spencer Perceval...chiming guitars, David Martin’s lazy, yet intense vocals, the slow build, the collapse and the impending crescendo that seems to threaten every note and then finally arrives. I Am Murdered is slower and a bit awkward, but I like it more with every listen.

The single is available only as an import, but Progress Reform is scheduled to be released in the US on April 23. Find the single, which comes with a cool limited-edition poster showing Perceval’s horse drawn casket here. Fingers crossed for a substantial US tour, but in the meantime, check out Spencer Perceval and be the envy of all your hipster, corduroy and Puma-wearing friends. "Oh yeah, iLiKETRAiNS...library rock man, it’s the wave of the future, where YOU been?" (John Byrne)

iLiKETRAiNS - "Spencer Perceval":

No comments: