tue 23/07/2019

CD: Train - Does Led Zeppelin II | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Train - Does Led Zeppelin II

CD: Train - Does Led Zeppelin II

A plastic bouquet of an album, okay till you get up close

A brown leatherette cover – how appropriate

Led Zeppelin are an icon of musical class. Train, even their admirers must admit, are not. With this faithful, perhaps too faithful cover, the credit can only flow one way. Responses to this album have been a touchstone of journalistic identity, with our competitor sites posting sarcastic reviews, only to be accused below the line of snobbery, ignorance, and, most damning of all, hipsterdom.

So let’s get this out of the way. Rather like Monet re-painted by numbers in Dulux high gloss, Train have re-created the outlines of Led Zeppelin, but without the depth and nuance. In songs like “Whole Lotta Love” or “Heartbreaker”, the raw, rasping yowl of the original has been replaced by a soulless, bombastic and over-reverbed acoustic, like Guitar Hero played too loud in the bathroom, Pat Monahan a kind of cardboard Robert Plant. While “What Is And Never Should Be” – which you can’t help feeling sums up the whole project – reproduces the guitar line reasonably well, Monahan has a harsh, synthetic edge to his voice that Zep fans will really loathe. To be fair, few bands would come out well from a close comparison with Led Zeppelin, but it was brave, to put it kindly, of Train to think they were the ones to make it work.

Apart from that, it’s not too bad. Train’s heart is in the right place. It feels like a labour of love, a sincere attempt at imitative flattery or misplaced act of devotion, rather than a rip-off. It’ll work fine piped in Starbucks where there’s too much background noise to tell the difference. But it’s hard to see the point. Led Zep fans were never going to like it, and Train’s followers, having remained faithful to the band so far, surely didn’t need this over-ambitious flirtation with rock royalty.   

@matthewwrighter

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