The other day, I heard a song that reminded me of an old friend. I let her know about the moment of nostalgia, to which she promptly replied that she doesn’t even listen to that song or artist anymore. I don’t think she was trying to be dismissive. Rather, I’ve come to realize that some people don’t emotionally hold onto music the same way I do. People grow up, move on, have kids, listen to Raffi or the Wiggles or Dan Zanes. But, that’s not how I am. There are times I wish I could go back in time and stop my younger self from selling back certain CDs. Alright, so maybe I don’t break out Blind Melon or Soul II Soul much anymore, but you never know when you’re going to get that itch to hear a particular song. I like to be prepared.
Bands can mean a lot to me for different reasons. For one, they just play great music. It doesn’t have to be a particular style, but it helps to play something ‘in my wheelhouse.’ Secondly, the band can mean a lot to me if they released music during some formative years, thus supplying a cache of nostalgic value. Finally, if that band reminds me of a former love, it can, of course, have special meaning. Trashcan Sinatras hit the trifecta. This band, from the small town of Irvine in Scotland, has been unbelievably releasing records for 20 years. Granted, there have been long gaps between albums, but it’s more than a lot of bands can say.
Their fifth and latest is called In the Music, and is still laden with the gorgeous jangle pop they burst onto the scene with on Cake. Fans only exposed to their singles off that first album might now be hard pressed to find much of the clever wordplay for which they became known, but that also might seem like fans wanting a comedian to tell the same joke year after year. Instead, with In the Music, we are treated to an older, more mature band, delivering a set of songs that rank among their most pleasurable. Lead single “People” traverses through some simple observations with more depth than at first appears; Francis Reader’s voice as sweet and engaging as ever.
I can’t and won’t comment on every song, as I found myself inwardly gushing over every last breath of lyric or series of strums. I will, however, mention that a couple of songs that sound odd on paper, sound great in actuality. One is an unlikely duet with Carly Simon (she’s the producer’s neighbor) in “Should I Pray?” The other is a longish tribute to Syd Barrett called “Oranges & Apples.” They may not be the biggest musical stretches in the world, like Pat Boone covering metal songs, but they do show that the Sinatras can change it up without losing their signature sound. In the Music is, at the same time, the return of the familiar and the introduction of a more relaxed group, a feeling that transfers from the record to the listener with each delicate track.
Gene – Drawn to the Deep End
Finn Brothers – Finn
Travis – 12 Memories