Tram A Kind Of Closure

After two excellent albums that established them as masters of slow-paced melancholic pop, Tram return with their most accomplished and diverse album yet. Essentially the work of singer/writer Paul Anderson and Nick Avery, these London-based lads helped shape a distinct sound akin to artists like Mojave 3, Low or other Nick Drake/Tim Buckley disciples. With Anderson's accomplished voice and his smooth songwriting style, Tram songs have a real knack for being more than just music to feel sad to - their sound has a real identity and A Kind Of Closure pulls out all the stops to cement this. Their signature sound and tempo are still present, but this time Anderson finally gets to use full string and brass arrangements, which has really completed the sound. The pedal-steel guitar brilliantly complements the country ballad "Painful Education" and the full, augmented instrumentation makes for a real treat on "Theme" and "Fools," which lean more towards abstract jazz-rock, like late era Talk Talk. The overall sound of the record is outstanding, with contributions from Cocteau Twins' Simon Raymonde and production by Dimitri Tikivoi, so it's easy to completely lose yourself in this album. With titles like "You Let Me Down" and "The Hope Has Been Taken Away," you get the idea pretty quickly that this is definitely not a "feel good" record. Chords are minor and spirits are low, but regardless of one's emotional state, this is still a joy to listen to. Their mixture of styles and the dreamy nature of the songs make this a release not to be overlooked. (Jetset)