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Album Reviews

Tickets Please – The Sinclair Express Release Debut Album

The Sinclair Express - All Aboard

Artist: The Sinclair Express
Album / Label: The Sinclair Express / Unsigned
Rating: 6.75 / 10

Earth is not somewhere most people want to be right now. We recently saw SpaceX send people into space and felt a little bit of jealousy that they got to leave.

Luckily, The Sinclair Express should be pulling into the station at any moment. Present your ticket and the crew will take you along its usual route beyond the atmosphere, past galactic suburbs, and through the milky way resort. A trip on this train is sure to be a fine getaway for any earth dweller.

The Sinclair Express are an alternative trio out of Chicago. They hold influences such as Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, as well as Jack White. And they began this escapade in the summer of 2018, far ahead of the heightened demand for interplanetary travel.

All Aboard is their first album, and was released on July 4, 2020.

The opening track, They’re Calling, sets the tone by exclaiming the album’s name sake “ALLLL ABOARD!” with spacious, echoing guitar licks responding. As we, the passengers, board the train we are met with a feeling of uncertainty but in a partially positive way. What will the frontiers ahead of us bring? Once the doors closed we feel that we could miss what we were leaving behind, but excited for what’s to come. The guitar tone is great and definitely lending to the Hendrix Inspiration mentioned on their website. With a fuzzy tone like this I expected the entrance of the vocals to be less smooth. The sound is almost abrasive, but grows on you.

After the first vocal section it retreats back into the instrumentation and goes through a few different phases and motives. The emotions are free to bounce around as the passengers on board, preparing for take off. Guitarist Chris Sinclair wastes no time showing us he has chops in the solos that come. The last third of this track is quite jam-tastic. This section may not be for more casual listeners of the pop sensibilities, but it is for me.

The next track, It Never Ends, opens with a chuckle and a salute to “The Weirdos.” A nod to those passengers who wanted to leave this rock well before pandemics and laughable elections. Sonically, I pick up hints of Sublime and Red Hot Chili Peppers as possible inspiration.

It Relaxes Me has a hypnotic opening riff, followed by enjoyable lyrics about the good times and the high times. They then instruct the passengers to close their eyes before launching into a Pink Floyd-esque section for us to swim in. On this track my ears noticed that the production on the recording could use a little work but for a first album it’s not bad at all. I particularly notice this in the drums.

After this they go into the ballad Oh Dear. There is fun work with echoes and layering in the vocals throughout this one. I do have to wonder if the similarities are the “Oh! Daling” by the Beatles is on purpose. There’s even a riff that is almost the same. As with many other moments on the album the guitar work is quite pleasant in the instrumental section of this song. Starts with a sour happiness then into an almost sad or melancholy feel.

The opening of Just Don’t Know What To Say has a great bluesy intro, with plenty of attitude. The issue with the drums sounding boomy or breaky is again present here. The remainder of the track sounds like a showcase of Hendrix/SRV goofing.

In Goodbye Lucy we hear a nice western truck stop intro. Mentally replacing “Go westward young man” with “Go beyond young man” to our interstellar passengers. In the later half Sinclair again shows us he has some definite potential on the guitar.

Do you know that certain pop-rock songs we hear in places like a thrift store? They’re usually from the 80’s and have a particular structure? Well we get something like that in Workin’ On The Weekend. That certain summertime fun vibe is here along with decent verses. Although the chorus could’ve been more hooky the “Come on back” outro was a lot of fun and could have gone on longer.

One of the heavier sounding songs on the recording is Two Trains Runnin’. This is another long form jam with good guitar work.

Tempest – A storm / The Stormbringer. Like a storm, the song builds intensity as clouds roll in until all hell breaks loose. The surfy, but dark intro fits this idea. Eventually the intensity of the storm lets up as we reach the eye. All is calm for only a moment. Then nature beings to rage again, until it tapers off and the storm is blown in a new direction. A nice clean, mild guitar expresses the change after the storm has passed. Perhaps there is mild destruction left behind but one is just happy to have gotten through it.

The final track, Million Miles Away, is almost a recap and literal goodbye to the album. If we choose to look at this work as one big message about moving on to something new this song seems to exemplify the train leaving the station. Onward to the cosmos or some sort of unknown. The song has us saying goodbye to the familiar.

I believe, to sum up this album into one statement, if you crave new adventure, and the phone rings, pick it up!

Tracklist

  1. They’re Calling
  2. It Never Ends
  3. It Relaxes Me
  4. Oh Dear
  5. Just Don’t Know What To Say
  6. Goodbye Lucy
  7. Workin’ On The Weekend
  8. Two Trains Runnin’
  9. Tempest
  10. Million Miles Away

The Sinclair Express – It Never Ends

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