Changing Trains are a six-piece who hail from Limerick in the South-West of Ireland. The Theory Of Everything may be their debut album but the members of the band have been around the music scene for many years and it shows.
One of the many delights of this album is that Changing Trains have managed to pull off a very rare double. They manage to sound both fresh as well as incredibly polished. Make no mistake that is no mean feat for a band, who like so many great bands these days, have recorded and self produced their own album.
Between them the band members have dedicated hundreds of hours to putting this album together. They have done so without record company backing, without PR and without a producer. You would never know it because this album is beautifully recorded, mixed and produced. It is easily the equal of any big budget production. So what of the music?
Put simply it is delightful. Hannah O’Brien takes the lead on the vocals throughout and the puts the lyrics over in fine fashion. On the opening track “One Of these Days” I was reminded very much of Sharleen Spiteri and Texas. The stripped back piano and acoustic guitar on “I Loved You Once” provides the back drop for a truly beautiful ballad that had a touch of The Fray about it. It really is a beautiful song, perhaps the track that wormed it’s way into my consciousness the quickest.
“Won’t Let you Down” is another ballad cut from similar cloth and every bit as lovely. I thought is had the feel of a Snow Patrol ballad about it but check out the video and judge for yourself. Check out the drama that Hannah injects into the song at around 1.25 into the video when she sings “I won’t let you down……… Again” beautiful! I love the line “He says I have a perfect smile, but it just hides my darker side.”
“Gathering the Sunlight” feels very optimistic as it open with just the vocal and what I assume to be a Uke (but it could be a mandolin). It’s a song about breaking free and reaching for your dreams and that seems to be exactly what Changing Trains are doing on this album.
“Staring at The Moon” kicks off with that sort of ‘sat up all night round the camp-fire drinking and singing’ vibe that Jack Johnstone puts across so well. “Feeling Great” is another of those very optimistic ,reach for the stars, songs, it is an up-tempo rocker and perhaps showcases the band as a whole rather than in elements.
“Let me Breathe” returns to the more acoustic and is a lot deeper than you perhaps give it credit for at first. It seems to be a gently rebellious attempt to break out of religiously dominated small town Ireland, an environment where your future is mapped out, where “Having faith is not the same as knowing love.”
Album closer “Away From Me” touches again into the idea of not conforming to what is expected of you, it throws out a challenge, it tells you to lift your head up, look around, reach for the stars, chase your dreams, you do not have to accept that your life is no more than footsteps in the sand. You don’t have accept that the marks of your passing will disappear with the next tide. You just have to go for it.
With the Theory of Everything you get the feeling that Changing Trains are doing just that. The dream is there, it may be just out of reach at the minute but it is getting closer. With the Theory of Everything there is every chance that Changing Trains are about to grasp their dreams.
The Theory of Everything is out tomorrow, February 27. If you are a fan of indie rock, strong ballads and the work of bands like Texas, Snow Patrol or Catatonia then you will love this album. Do yourself a favour and click on one of the links below and buy yourself a copy.
Theory of Everything on iTunes
Theory of Everything on Amazon
Changing Trains are:
Paul O’Riordan – Guitar
David Carroll – Drums
Neil Delaney – Guitar
Robert Carey – Bass
Peter Delaney – Mandolin
Hannah O’Brien – Vocal