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.