Album of the week : Dark Black - Kristina Train

Having already established her solo career Stateside with her 2009 début, Spilt Milk, Kristina Train is ready to wow UK audiences with her sublime sophomore effort – but UK début - Dark Black

Train was very unlucky in 2009 when her debut album Spilt Milk was released. She signed a lucrative record deal. She moved to London from New York only for the album to flop. Add to that her getting divorced and a family bereavement and she probably wondered if she’d ever release another album. Step in jazz legend Herbie Hancock who invited her to sing the lead vocals for his 18-month tour and her career in music was saved

It’s not too fanciful to say that 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

Dark Black is an intense, intoxicating record. It’s mesmerising, dreamy, passionate, emotional and full of love and loss. From the devastating sadness of opener and eponymous title track to the fragile intimacy of ‘Don’t Leave Me Here Alone’ and the breathy heart-aching elegance of ‘Saturdays Are The Greatest’, the album is imbued with a level of passion, insight and emotion that is simply startling, particularly in such a new artist. The album also includes Kristina’s mesmerising take on the Band of Horses track ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’

At her strongest on the goosebumps-inducing ‘Dream Of Me’, Train uses her epic presence to knock her listener for six. ‘Lonely Sinner’ brings a grinding Shea Seger to the fore. The blustery blues within Train’s contained vocal is never fully unleashed, but nevertheless pulls at all the right heartstrings

Strangely, it is Train at her most commercial that holds Dark Black back from a perfect score. The winsome, wishful ‘I Wanna Live In LA’ lets the side down a little. While it’s optimistic pop, Train’s sensational vocal is sidelined in favour of approachability

Train has worked with some big names to produce the overall product that comes out of your speakers. Production is by Dave Kosten, who produced and mixed Coldplay’s X&Y, and she co-wrote the album with Martin Craft, Ed Harcourt and Justin Parker who co-wrote Lana Del Rey’s Video Games

Kristina’s approach to writing and performing is simple – she tries to make the notes themselves illustrate life.  She’s clearly achieved this on Dark Black as you can hear a lifetime of emotions packed into 12 beautifully performed tracks. Kristina Train has clearly seen the world, loved and lost and grown up the hard way, and she has now poured every painful experience thwarted longing and deepest feeling into this breathtaking album. It deserves to be heard

Buy it here

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December 07, 2012

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