St Johns Ambience – Train Damaged

Come in. Have a seat while we discuss the debut album from St Johns Ambience. Train Damaged which was released at the end of last year. What we have here is a collection of 11 songs that I have yet been unable to pigeon hole into a nice neat category, but let’s just say, these boys ROCK!

The album kicks off with the Sabbath-tinged ‘Roads’ and equally seventies rock feel of the next two tracks. At this point I was settling down to enjoy some horns in the air-type rock action. Not so.‘Feart’ sees the boys wearing their political hearts firmly on their sleeves. A song that succinctly captures their disappointment with the Scottish Indy referendum and couches it in one of the catchiest pop songs I’ve heard for a while.

‘Call of the Mountain’ has a riff that reminds me of a heavier Camper van Beethoven before we get to the quiet-loud-quiet of ‘Downfall’. The chorus of this song I find myself going back to again and again. I can imagine this being a massive live favourite!

It’s here that we get thrown a massive and incredibly pleasurable curve ball. ‘Trans’ is a brief sound experiment leading us into the post-rock perfection that is ‘Hollywood’. Mogwai will be listening to this one wishing they had wrote it. It is simply beautiful.

Elsewhere on the album the boys take a swipe at the class system.  A soundbite of Thatcher immediately gets your attention, leading us into a pulsating QOTSA/KOL-type screamer.

‘Cocodomore’ is an exorcism of addiction. In a furious flurry of drums, bass and punky guitar we rattle about the mind of an addict and their inner dialogue. It’s honest to the core. Brutally so, but is also catchy as.

‘Tocatta’ closes the album back in instrumental territory with a cracking fast-picked killer with Russian vibes.

This is a stunning start for the boys that demonstrates a deep fundamental understanding of great rock songwriting with a heart, and I’m not “feart” to say it!

Train Damaged is out now and available from their Bandcamp page.

Mark Anderson
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