‘Dig In‘ is the razor sharp second single from I LIKE TRAINS‘ forthcoming album KOMPROMAT (Aug 21st, Atlantic Curve). The album deals with the thorny subject of information; how we consume it, how we process it and how our personal data can be used for political and financial gain. ‘Dig in’ sees the Leeds based band turn their ire towards the campaign managers and ‘special advisors’ who manoeuvre their people into positions of power.
“This one is for those morally bankrupt schemers who have managed to leverage extraordinary power and wealth while never being on the ballot,” explains vocalist David Martin. “For a job that would serve them best by working in the shadows, it’s incredible to see how their egos have landed them all in hot water. They can’t seem to help themselves, and yet somehow they manage to worm their way out of any real justice by calling in favours and laying low until it all blows over.”
As with previous single ‘The Truth‘, ‘Dig In‘ is accompanied by another nightmarish découpé style video by artist and designer Michael Connolly. “We’re watching the liars lie. They know that we know they are lying but there’s nothing we can do about it. And they know this. No one knows what happens next”, explains Connolly. “The video for ‘Dig In’ certainly lives in the same disorientating world as my film for ‘The Truth’, but I wanted to bring a holiday promo feel to proceedings. Except you aren’t going on holiday.”
Eight years on from their last full-length album, I LIKE TRAINS return with KOMPROMAT. The band takes an unflinching view of a world that has changed beyond all recognition in that time. It’s a record digging beneath populism’s rise, from the divide and conquer tactics that caused Brexit in the UK, to the ascent of Trump in America and the subsequent reign of lies and misinformation, to discover the grubby hands that have engineered it all.
“An I LIKE TRAINS record doesn’t really start to take shape until there’s a theme”, says the group’s vocalist and lyricist David Martin. “That point came following Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks in 2013.”
At the time, Martin started writing about low-key, insidious intrusions on our privacy. As global events unfolded, however, so did the importance of those themes: the perception of what is true and what isn’t true being challenged on a daily basis and how that confusion could be used to manipulate populations into thinking and voting in certain ways.
“We didn’t set out to write a record about current affairs, but the path we set out on converged drastically with that daily discourse. The album inadvertently became about populist politics across the world. Brexit, Trump, Cambridge Analytica and covert Russian influence ended up at the centre of it all” Martin says.
I LIKE TRAINS – made up of Martin (vocals/guitar), Alistair Bowis (bass), Guy Bannister (guitar/synths), Simon Fogal (drums) and Ian Jarrold (guitar) – have never shied away from confronting the possibility of humanity’s collapse, of course. Early records, like the towering, Godspeed-influenced Progress Reform (2006) and Elegies to Lessons Learnt (2007) took tales of tragic characters and events from history and applied them to the modern day, while He Who Saw The Deep (2010) looked uneasily ahead to the climate change battle we stand on the precipice of losing. Previous album The Shallows (2012) focused on how the internet and smart technology is re-wiring the human mind and affecting our concentration spans.
KOMPROMAT simultaneously sounds like none of those records, yet also contains DNA from all of them. The group have gone back to go forwards in some ways, returning to some of the primary influences that caused them to first form back in 2004: Joy Division, The Birthday Party, Gang of Four, Television and The Velvet Underground. It marks a welcome return for a band who remain a singular presence away from the ebb and flow of UK guitar music fashion; a band in their own orbit, working to their own distinctive style.
‘KOMPROMAT’ will be released on August 21st via Atlantic Curve. Pre-order it here.
‘KOMPROMAT’ track list:
1. A Steady Hand
2. Desire Is A Mess
3. Dig In (YouTube)
5. Patience Is A Virtue
6. Man of Conviction
7. New Geography
8. The Truth (YouTube)
9. Eyes to the Left (ft. Anika)