Train - 'California 37'

Pop-rock band Train released their sixth studio album California 37 on 13th April 2012 but have also released California 37 : Mermaids Of Alcatraz Tour Edition on 25th June this year to tie in with their upcoming tour (which starts on 11th July) Whilst not a country album it is definitely one of my favourite albums from a different genre. Pat Monahan fronts the group (which currently also includes Jimmy Stafford and Scott Underwood) and provides very strong lead vocals.
One of my favourite tracks from the album would have to be the country infused Bruises. Pat's vocals blend well with guest vocalist Ashley Monroe and the catchy guitar hook throughout the track gives the song a summery energy. The message behind the song is a clever, vulnerable one and I would recommend listeners to pay close attention to the lyrics as well as enjoying the brilliant melody.

California 37 is littered with really strong songs that showcase the bands talent as artists and Pat's talent as a songwriter. The lead track from the album This'll Be My Year is another one of my favourites. It is very different to Bruises however the rocky feel to the track really works well and the instrumentalisation builds up nicely throughout. It is very much a story based song and the lyrics travel through various years as the song progresses.

As well as these two brilliant tracks I would also recommend listening to Drive By, Feels Good At First, Mermaid and To Be Loved.

Track listing....

  1. This'll Be My Year - Pat Monahan, Butch Walker, Sam Hollander, Dave Katz
  2. Drive By - Monahan, Espen Lind, Amund Bjorklund
  3. Feels Good At First - Monahan, Allen Shamblin
  4. Bruises (featuring Ashley Monroe) - Monahan, Lind, Bjorklund
  5. 50 Ways To Say Goodbye - Monahan, Lind, Bjorklund
  6. You Can Finally Meet My Mom - Monahan, Jerry Becker
  7. Sing Together - Monahan, Lind, Bjorklund
  8. Mermaid - Monahan, Lind, Bjorklund, Tor Erik Hermansen, Mikkel Eriksen
  9. California 37 - Monahan, Gregg Wattenburg, Diji Parq 
  10. We Were Made For This - Monahan, Walker
  11. When The Fog Rolls In - Monahan, Wattenburg
  12. Imagine [TOUR EDITION] - John Lennon
  13. To Be Loved  - Monahan, Hodges
  14. Futon [TOUR EDITION] - Monahan, Lind, Bjorklund
  15. Drive By (live from San Francisco) [TOUR EDITION] - Monahan, Lind, Bjorklund
  16. This'll Be My Year (live from San Francisco) [TOUR EDITION] - Monahan, Walker, Hollander, Katz
  17. When The Fog Rolls In (live from San Francisco) [TOUR EDITION] - Monahan, Wattenburg

The three live tracks on the tour edition are tracks that fans of Train will already know from this album and I don't feel that their cover of Imagine and original song Futon is worth the extra money however I think the addition of live tracks may appeal to some fans and if you don't already have this album you should definitely buy one of the versions.

There are a few tracks in the album I don't like as much as the others (these are You Can Finally Meet My Mom and California 37). The instrumentalisation and vocal editing on California 37 is a little odd which is unfortunate because I feel it could be a really good song. In terms of You Can Finally Meet My Mom, whilst I like the whistling that comes in at various points I find the song as a whole a bit second rate compared to the rest of the album.

I would definitely recommend purchasing this album to anyone who doesn't already own a copy. Don't be put off by the band being described as 'rock', they definitely have rockier tracks on the album however the vocals are first rate and they mix in slower, almost country feeling tracks throughout. The band have been to the UK before but I have unfortunately not yet been able to see them live. Their new tour features some great names (you can find the details here) and I hope they decide to return to the UK soon.