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train:
 drops of jupiter (aware/columbia)

Train avoids the sophomore slump with no more than a slight twist of the wheel on their new album, Drops of Jupiter.  The second helping of the band’s country-tinged, southern-fried rock is served up better than ever.  Aided by huge radio airplay out of the box for the title track, it looks like Train could follow up their platinum debut with another big seller.

The boys from California recorded the album in Atlanta at producer Brendan O’Brien’s (Stone Temple Pilots, Matthew Sweet, too many others to mention) Southern Tracks Studio.  As usual, Mr. O’Brien took a great band and somehow made them even better (or perhaps it was just the sweet tea, grits and fried green tomatoes).  The new album features keyboard work (by O’Brien) that adds a more mature sound to the album.  There is also some fine string arrangements that add depth to the project.

Despite the fancy production work, it is really Train’s songwriting that provides the solid foundation that is built upon.  The subject matter primarily concerns the male-female relationship, but looks at it from numerous angles. 

In addition to the title track, “She’s on Fire”, “It’s About You” and “Whipping Boy” are all great rocking tracks.  “Let it Roll” and “Mississippi” are moody, emotional tracks that exhibit the band’s ability to change gears and show their contemplative side.

All in all, this is a great rock and roll album that knows where its roots are and goes home quite often to pay a visit.

Greg Beadles

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