Album Review

Last Train Home - Last Good Kiss

Last Train Home - Last Good Kiss

It's not for nothing that one of the largest photos on this CD's jacket is that of a vacated plastic chair, the kind you might find at a bus terminal or, ahem, train station. Many of the album's songs are about someone leaving or at least wrestling with the idea of doing so. And contrary to the name of this Nashville-based, D.C.-spawned five-piece, the protagonists are rarely heading in a comfortable direction ("I'm Coming Home" being the exception that proves the rule). Last Good Kiss is the most ambitious and adventurous of Last Train Home's eight-release career, with atmosphere playing as large a role as big roots-rock guitars. As a result, you might find yourself at times thinking "Hmmm, that was well executed" as opposed to "Let's hear that one again" (the stab at alt-tropicalia on the album-capping "The Color Blue" a case in point), but that's a by-product of a band stretching out. Adding to the new flavor is the inclusion of former Jayhawks keyboardist Jen Gunderman, whose accordion contends with the rich voice of songwriter/frontman Eric Brace as the record's most pivotal instrument. When everything connects -- mood, hooks, epic sweep -- on "Kissing Booth" and the knockout title track, the effect is striking. Best of all is the centerpiece "Go Now". More country soul than country rock, its hushed delivery is a perfect fit for the early-morning setting and the heartache that's hatching.