Columbus Alive reviews Greetings
By Chris DeVille
My expectation when a band names itself after another band’s song is that the new artist will closely resemble his source material. But considering Radiohead was named after a Talking Heads song, the association is sometimes rather loose.
Andy Gallagher named his band Trains Across the Sea after a shambling indie-rock classic by Silver Jews, and while that band’s ghost hangs heavy over Gallagher’s songwriting – particularly his lyrics – he shows himself to be more than a David Berman obsessive on his latest EP.
Gallagher has a knack for laid-back acoustic slacker jams that maintain a similar sensibility even as he seems to adopt a new persona for each song. The shifts can be jarring – consider his unpleasant Tom Waits/Cookie Monster grumble on “Wheat Bread” – but on the rousing, clever “Gods of Rock and Roll,” his chameleon tricks work wonders.
No matter how he contorts his baritone drawl, Gallagher is usually saying something insightful about post-collegiate life. Abrasive vocals can’t ruin “Wheat Bread,” a relatable tale of stealing Wi-Fi and locking bikes to street signs, while “Holidays” presents old insights in a pleasing new way. And “The Cobbler’s Blues” offers a relevant query in this day and age: “What were you doing the night they changed the sign from Larry’s into Senor Buckeyes?”
Trains Across the Sea will perform Saturday at the WCRS benefit at The Summit.