Whilst the crowd was fairly small for the Leeds band’s intricate stylings, the band certainly made an impression on those who were there. As a reflection of the intimacy of the gig, vocalist/guitarist David even made true his promise to shake every single person’s hand after the show.
Their beginnings as a noisy and euphoric post-rock band certainly shone through in their live show more than in their latest record The Shallows, although it’s more striking elements were more evident in a live setting. Whilst some of the grander moments were when the band really let loose their energy, this is not to detract from the more subtle quality of their new material.
Glistening guitar lines mixed with the kind of rhythmic grooves deployed by Wild Beasts combined with rolling post punk bass lines to create a far more textured sound than some of the bands earlier, rawer material. This was topped off by pitch perfect and eloquently delivered vocals of the same quality as the bands recorded material which helped to contribute to an already solid and tight set.
Whilst I am a big fan of post-rock bands such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Explosions in the Sky, it struck me that the elements of these bands displayed in I Like Trains older material was not entirely absent from their newer songs, just that they had been refined and pushed back slightly, giving the music space to breathe and develop. Some of the most enchanting moments of the night came from grandiose build ups suddenly giving way to a more subtle and patient sound which expressed (to use a music-journalism cliché) maturity and a new found depth that really suits the band. I also managed to ask them a few questions after the gig.
There are clearly a number of influences in your sound, I detected post-rock and some hints of post-punk. Who are a few of your main influences?
Guy Banister (guitarist): We’ve moved away from the post-rock sound a little, we’re into stuff like Krautrock; Can and Neu!… Also the guitar tones of Interpol and bands like that.
Alistair Bowis (bassist): I like to think of us as a mix of Caribou and Godspeed.
I loved the production on the new album, how did it differ from previous albums?
GB: Well we had Richard Formby on production, he did the last two Wild Beast albums. We really went for that kind of textured production feel, we cut it down to basics.
A final thing, the new artwork on The Shallows really reflects your sound, what were the influences for that?
GB: The artwork on the new one is mainly taken from Bauhaus, we told our graphics guy to do anything based around that and this is what we ended up with.
Words: Oli Richards
Photo: Euan Robertson