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Westbound Train - Transitions Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9.5
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 8.75
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.75
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Final Verdict: 90%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.75
Musicianship 9.75
Lyrics 9.75
Production 9.75
Creativity 9.75
Lasting Value 9.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.75
Average: 98%
Inside AP.net

Westbound Train - Transitions

Reviewed by: Brandon Allin (09/19/06)
Westbound Train - Transitions
Release Date: September 26th, 2006
Record Label: Hellcat Records

The looming prospect of change is either seen as a welcome opportunity to reinvent one's self, or similarly as an occasion in which one is able to redeem themselves from past struggles. Yet, in the music industry, a forecast outlining alterations is often feared, and frequently observed as an instance one's fanbase will come to dread. However, in the case of Boston, Massachusetts' Westbound Train, and their aptly-titled, Hellcat Records debut, Transitions, changes have done none but serve to invigorate an already consequential act, while the end result is sensational, compelling, and inspirational.

Transitions, which follows the band's 2004, independent release, Five To Two, is unequivocally the group's most honourable effort to date. The Boston septet, who perform on a self-proclaimed and self-constructed bridge between reggae, soul, blues, and jazz, have successfully constructed an instantly memorabl album deserving of none but utmost admiration. The instrumentation has improved exceptionally, the harmonious melodies are more prominent, and the overall product is the most appealing exertion listeners have seen from these rising stars thus far.

The band serves their audience the first taste of refinement on the album's exuberant opener, "Please Forgive Me", a soulful composition highlighting not only the act's incandescent transformation, but their sheer, prevailing ability. Lead vocalist Obi Fernandez's voice is cool and relaxed, yet all the while captivating listeners with his refreshing, effervescent tone. The band's approach, while still carrying traces of their earliest work, has certainly been remodeled, and the contemporary output is undoubtedly superior in comparison to past exhibits. On "Good Enough", the band's horn section, which consists of trumpeter Rich Graiko, tenor saxophonist Josh Cohen, and the aformentioned Obi Fernandez on trombone, authenticate their unquestionable proficiency, as they lead the remaining musicians through a danceable, swaying, ska foundation.

On the surface, Westbound Train may appear one-dimensional to the uneducated mind, but those willing to explore the group's unique, stimulating form of personal expression will find that these seven musicians are far from nonessential. For exmaple, on "For The First Time", despite the track's horn-laden tact, Fernandez documents household struggles, yet never impersonating a false sense of security, or allowing for a loved one's set of goals to interfere with dreams he calls his own. The enthusiastic material found on Transitions, for the most part, is both beautiful and emotional (as found on tracks including the rhythmic-saturated "Soul Revival", and the piano-tinged "Fatty Boom Boom"), and the warmth supplied from such a scarce combination is salient.

But, for every ounce of applause, it's no exaggeration to assume a pound of cynical outbursts are waiting nearby. As a matter of fact, it's near impossible to escape a plethora of grim, unrelenting criticsm, regardless of any categorical factors. Yet, truthfully, if one were forced to analyze Transitions on a level of sheer interpreation, the sole point of diversity could quite easily be argued. The exterior presentation, while extraordinary to those laced with excitement, bares a striking resemblance to other components of the Hellcat Records family, but surely, this insignificant bruise won't deter from any but an apathetic listener's personal experience. While specific songs may clutch congruent qualities to others, each track introduces a legitimate base for any fan's enjoyment.

When it all boils down, it's evident that one's recpetion to Transitions will be based on none but preference and personal choice. But, let it be clear that this critic is overwhelmed with the delight of each listen through this respectable, radiant release in it's entirety. Westbound Train have, without a doubt, crafted a release bound for success, and while uninspired may listeners may write these Transitions off as nothing more than another page in a record label's extensive catalogue, be warned that this train is coming.

For Fans OfOne Night Band, The Slackers, The Aggrolites, and Go Jimmy Go
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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 22
05:19 AM on 09/19/06
#2
spencersface
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Excellent review Brandon. I love how you write. I'm definitely going to check this CD out.
05:28 AM on 09/19/06
#3
Brandon Allin
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Excellent review Brandon. I love how you write. I'm definitely going to check this CD out.
Thanks, Spencer. I hope you enjoy what you hear.
05:39 AM on 09/19/06
#4
spencersface
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Thanks, Spencer. I hope you enjoy what you hear.

I think I will. There hasn't been a single piece of music that you've recommended that I didn't thoroughly enjoy.
06:42 AM on 09/19/06
#5
Allin11
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great review brother.
06:46 AM on 09/19/06
#6
Brandon Allin
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great review brother.
Haha. Thanks, man.
07:08 AM on 09/19/06
#7
shermanology
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this cd kick ass like no other. I got it in a couple weeks ago and put it in rotation at the radio station i work for.

great great stuff.
07:25 AM on 09/19/06
#8
PunkENG
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I saw them on Summer of Ska. I always love watching a bunch of white guys performing reggae influenced ska.
07:29 AM on 09/19/06
#9
Brandon Allin
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this cd kick ass like no other. I got it in a couple weeks ago and put it in rotation at the radio station i work for.

great great stuff.
I completely agree. Up until a few days ago, I hadn't heard anything besides the two preview tracks online, and I was incredibly impressed with both of those, but the entire album, as a whole, is phenomenal.
07:30 AM on 09/19/06
spencersface
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I completely agree. Up until a few days ago, I hadn't heard anything besides the two preview tracks online, and I was incredibly impressed with both of those, but the entire album, as a whole, is phenomenal.

I want to hear this!!!!
07:38 AM on 09/19/06
Brandon Allin
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I want to hear this!!!!
If you head over to the band's MySpace page, you can hear two songs entitled "I'm No Different" and "Please Forgive Me."
07:47 AM on 09/19/06
spencersface
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If you head over to the band's MySpace page, you can hear two songs entitled "I'm No Different" and "Please Forgive Me."

I shall when I get home...MySpace is blocked @ work.. nazi's!!!
08:13 AM on 09/19/06
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Wow, This is a great album. I have gotten away from listening to raggae/ska for a while, first The Aggrolites, and now this cd have rekindled the enjoyment I once had. Great review!!
08:54 AM on 09/19/06
Brandon Allin
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Wow, This is a great album. I have gotten away from listening to raggae/ska for a while, first The Aggrolites, and now this cd have rekindled the enjoyment I once had. Great review!!
Thanks. :)
09:18 AM on 09/19/06
Tony
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Holy shit. This is great. I want it now.

And I just found out these guys are playing in Seattle with RBF, Streetlight, and Suburban Legends on my birthday! My head just about exploded.
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