Album – Transitions – Westbound Train

Posted by admin on November 7th, 2006

Ska music had quite a place in my musical upbringing. So it’s always nice to hear a band that obviously have this influence in their music, as does Westbound Train. However this isn’t ska in it’s purest sense, this is a mellow, more radio friendly variant with a large dollop of reggae and a hint of soul, which I have to say is a sheer joy to listen to. I should have know this would be a great album, as it comes from Epitaph, a label that has an unbelievably incredible roster of artists, including another great ska band, previously reviewed on Indie Launchpad, The Aggrolites.

The album consists of 14 tracks, or 16 if you include the two transitions tracks, one of which starts the album. The first track proper is the sweetly mellow “Please Forgive Me” and provides a nice introduction to the groups sound. Indeed I think it would make a great single. One thing I love about ska, is it’s ability to just get you moving. Whether it’s a head bob, or a finger tap (that’s about all you’ll get out of this two left footed reviewer), there’s a definite ingredient that is conducive to making you move. “Good Enough ” is a prime example of this, with it’s reggae overtones.

This is a long album to be sure, especially when compared to many other albums that seem to be coming out at the moment. With a running time at just over an hour, it certainly packs a punch and sated my appetite nicely.

As I mentioned before there is a subtle hint of soul and indeed R&B. This shines through on the track “I’m No Different”, with it’s strong Otis Reading, brass overtones. As mentioned earlier, I grew up when the Specials, Madness and many other ska and two-tone bands were at the fore. Probably the one I keep being reminded of is Bad Manners. However it’s nothing to do with the singing, I don’t think there will ever be another Buster Bloodvessel. Just every now and then, a Doc Marten boot kicks a memory in my head and for a brief moment I’m transported back to the late 70’s.

Conclusion : If you like ska, this is a definite album to add to your collection. If you’ve veered away from ska, this is worth taking a look as it’s not as in your face, as many other ska bands. Not that that’s a criticism of other ska bands, just a fact that sometimes, some kinds of music can seem intimidating. An absolute blinder.

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