CD Review: Train “Save Me, San Francisco”

trainHonestly, I have been getting pretty weary of Train. A huge fan of their first couple records, I found their subsequent ones to be hit and miss. Their last one, 2006’s “For Me, It’s You”, was a real snoozefest – more fun could be had watching CSPAN. Making matters even worse, in 2007 lead singer Pat Monahan put out a steaming pile with his solo effort, “Last of Seven” (reviewed here). After that, I reached the conclusion that Train was at the caboose of their career.

I was in no rush to hear their fifth album, “Save Me, San Francisco”, especially after hearing the rather silly and annoying first single, “Hey Soul Sister”. But after a few more tracks in the album really picks up, sending you back in time to their early days. Train has finally stopped taking themselves so seriously and simply recorded a fun roots-rock record – their specialty, and what most fans fell in love with in the beginning. Additionally, Pat Monahan sounds fantastic on this record – he seems re-energized and has written melodies that allow him to showcase how great of a vocal talent he really is.

Train are full steam ahead on this one from the get-go…the record is short and sweet, but most of the songs are bright and playful, free of the over-production that dragged down their last couple of records. Fans of the first two albums are going to appreciate “Save Me, San Francisco” the most. Catchy songs abound, but the highlights include “Parachute”, “You Already Know”, and “Brick By Brick”.

With “Save Me, San Francisco”, Train is finally ‘back on track’: it is easily their best release since their masterpiece, “Drops of Jupiter”.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Train on MySpace. Official site.