The Train Set – Never California
Many things have been written about ‘Madchester’ and that pinnacle of the late 80s Manchester music scene. Synonymous with acid house, ecstasy, and ‘baggy’, the scene gave us The Hacienda, The Happy Mondays and James to name but a few bands, gracing the music magazines and sound-tracking those illegal raves and the heady days of youth TV. An almost mythical time in the British music scene.
A lot has been written about it, and any discerning indie fan will be able to name check bands from the era, even if they weren’t born then.
So what happened to the bands that were on the 80s Manchester music scene but, somehow missed the top?. Amazingly ‘The Train Set’ did just that.
‘Never California’ had its 2015 retrospective release after an approach by German label ‘Firestation records’ and a global PR campaign by Manchester’s ‘Blue Soap Music’.
Three tracks from the album; ‘She’s Gone’, ‘Untouchable’ & ‘Sink or Swim’ were part of their debut recording in 1988, followed by another triple in ‘Hold On’ ‘Harped On (About You)’ and ‘All Blown Over’ in 1989.
The album is 12 songs of unbelievable quality.
It would have sat comfortably amongst its peers and at the top of the independent indie charts.
The band toured with ‘James’ and were signed to Dave Haslam’s Play hard label. They were with the same management as ‘The Happy Mondays’ and had a ‘single of the week’ in NME, back in 1988.
So in 2016, why am I writing a review of retrospective music going back 28 years?. Its because it sounds so fresh!. In these heady days of nostalgia tours and reunion gigs (The Stone Roses, a classic example), I wonder how much music from this era will continue to sound so new?.
The band carry incredibly melodic guitar work, intricate melodies, a tight rhythm section and a lead vocal of angelic wonderment. The Train Set were the band that should have followed directly from The Smiths. They carried that undeniable influence well, yet The Train Set may have arrived a little late.
The 80s indie music scene was completely different to todays social media and digital download sales streams.
The Vinyl single played an important part in those days and 12” releases in the indie record scene proved too cumbersome for some, shrinking the fan base and record sales, in quick succession.
A little late maybe but… better late than Never (California).