It’s the same old story. You form a band, play some gigs, rub shoulder with the likes of Tom Robinson and The Monochrome Set, have tea and cakes with Slade and party with Paula Yates at the 1987 Brits. You split up, move on with your lives. And then 30 years on a record label stubbles across some old demos on YouTube, “discovers” you and offers you a record deal!
For some reason, Londoners Daniel Takes A Train never got the break they deserved back in the eighties but in 2018 they finally got to record their debut album, Style, Charm and Commotion. Now they are back with a new album, Last Ticket To Tango, as this belated second chapter of their story goes from strength to strength.
Although you can hear lots of chiming and charming styles from their formative years – ska infused pop, energetic indie and synth fuelled, soulful, dance groovers – the cyclical nature of music trends and the fact that they are coming to song-writing as older, wiser heads, mean that there is nothing nostalgic or backward gazing about the music found here. The sounds of 80’s pop are proving to be a hit with the young indie-kids of today, the only difference between them and Daniel Takes A Train is that these guys just happened to be there the first time around.
The title track is a cool and confident piece of staccato pop-rock, all New Wave grooves and New Romantic sheen, Song For The Brokenhearted is a soulful, beat-ballad that Spandau Ballet would have happily traded their tartan capes for and My Town shows just how deft they are with both lyric and melody.
And it is My Town too which shows the real depth of their music. Although there is real accessibility to the songs, their easy way belies just how great their lyrical narratives and social commentary is. Bands such as Prefab Sprout and Deacon Blue easily spring to mind, sharing the same ability to be wonderfully meaningful and utterly melodic.
Fitzgerald famously said “There are no second acts in American lives,” thankfully, the same can’t be said for Daniel Takes A Train. Not only is this a fantastic second act, but it has also been more than worth the wait.