Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - MUSIC -

TRAIN just keeps rolling along. Rid­ing on the suc­cess of the ubiq­ui­tous sin­gle Hey, Soul Sis­ter, the San Fran­cisco pop-rock­ers genre hop like a Bon Jovi-wor­ship­ping bunny on their sev­enth al­bum in the hope it won’t be an­other six years be­tween hits. Those hits could hap­pen. Front­man Pat Mon­a­han teamed up with Nor­we­gian pro­duc­tion team Es­pi­onage and Butch Walker to help write the 11 tracks on Cal­i­for­nia 37, fill­ing them with big sing-along hooks and pop-cul­ture ref­er­ences. On This’ll Be My Year, Mon­a­han talks us through the news high­lights of the past three decades that sounds like a cousin to Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire. Feels Good at First bor­rows a snip­pet of the vo­cal melody from the Bea­tles Two of Us so it seems in­stantly rec­og­niz­able and com­fort­able. Bruises (fea­tur­ing Ash­ley Mon­roe) is a con­vinc­ing coun­try twanger, while 50 Ways to Say Good­bye is a mari­achi-flavoured num­ber with the catchi­est cho­rus on the al­bum.

They don’t all come in, though. You Can Fi­nally Meet My Mom is an em­bar­rass­ing bal­lad, com­plete with some for­get­table whistling, which drops names like Jimi Hen­drix and Mis­ter Rogers and the hip-hop flavoured ti­tle track calls out the band’s de­trac­tors with the lines, “Here’s to those who didn’t think that Train could ever roll again/you were the fuel that I used when in­spi­ra­tion hit a dead end.” Zing, haters.

Still, most of the al­bum is earnest and catchy enough that it should keep this Train on the tracks, and blast­ing out of win­dows of a mini­van near you, a lit­tle while longer.

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