I LIKE TRAINS on “Kompromat” | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, April 20th, 2021  

I LIKE TRAINS on “Kompromat”

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Feb 01, 2021 Photography by Ben Bentley Issue #67 - Phoebe Bridgers and Moses Sumney
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It’s been over eight years since Leeds, England-based experimental outfit I LIKE TRAINS released their last proper full-length album, The Shallows. Now they’re back with a new record entitled Kompromat, and it may just represent their most ambitious and audacious collection of songs to date.

The five-piece—David Martin (guitar/vocals), Ian Jarrold (guitars), Guy Bannister (guitars), Alistair Bowis (bass), and Simon Fogal (drums)—haven’t exactly idled away the interim years. Family commitments, fatherhood, and new business enterprises all gave individual members brand new priorities at various junctures, while 2016’s documentary A Divorce Before Marriage about their aforementioned third album provided a welcome diversion in between creating and then deconstructing the songs that would go on to form Kompromat.

While I LIKE TRAINS have never steered away from being overtly political, Kompromat is their first record that deals with the present rather than historical events. Lead single “The Truth” declares that “The truth is no longer concerned with the facts” and is backed by a music video featuring images of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, among others.

“It all started with the Snowden revelations and the leaks on the NSA which was towards the end of 2013,” explains Martin of the album’s topical origins. “At which point the record was about information and data when it was revealed how governments were surveying their own population. It contravened laws, which I suspect is what most people thought was happening anyway. But it was interesting to have it confirmed.”

The ever-changing political climate had a profound influence on shaping the album.

“It feels like technology has overlapped with current affairs, particularly in the Brexit vote where data was used to sway a very tight referendum,” suggests Martin. “The influence of overseas governments leading to electoral laws being broken. Electoral laws that aren’t really fit for purpose in a digitally connected world. Then to see that replicated in the U.S. elections as well and other overseas influences on democracy in the western world. How delicate that is and how easily it can be swayed.”

Despite the long gap between albums, many of Kompromat’s songs have been in the works for a number of years.

“We were playing them live in 2014,” explains guitarist Jarrold. “But the versions then are so different from the ones we’ve recorded for the album. We didn’t sit down and plan what this record was going to sound like. It evolved over time.”

The Shallows saw I LIKE TRAINS dabbling with electronic sounds and Kompromat fuses synthesizers and drum machines with visceral guitars and thought-provoking lyrics.

“I didn’t want to make a record people thought we were going to make,” insists Martin. “I wanted to approach it with conviction.”

“You can bend your sound in as many directions as you want,” adds Jarrold. “But there’s always some thread in our DNA about how we approach things and what we do that will always mean they are I LIKE TRAINS songs.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 67 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online.]

www.iliketrains.co.uk

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