Trainwreck Department - No. 1

5 songs
10:32 minutes
***** **


Danish singer/songwriter Jacob Faurholt is one of the busiest artists out there. Either under his own name or using his alter ego Crystal Shipsss, hardly a year goes by where he doesnít release at least one record. As if having two different solo projects isnít confusing enough, he just added a third one named Trainwreck Department. A first EP, simply titled No. 1, is available as a digital download on Bandcamp, in the fan-friendly way where you are allowed to pay what you like.

Whereas Jacob Faurholtís solo material under his own name was usually more laid back and bare, Crystal Shipsss displayed the artistís more experimental side. Trainwreck Department is supposed to be even more basic than his regular material: acoustic bedroom recordings of spontaneous ideas interspersed with voicemails, spoken word and field recordings. The idea as such is inspiring and promising, but in the end Trainwreck Department doesnít sound so different from his other solo projects. That is not bad in itself, because Jacob Faurholt is a fountain of good ideas, but one wonders if these were easier to market by using a name the listeners are already familiar with.

The opener Christmas Tree is typical for Jacob Faurholt. Releasing an oblique ballad about Christmas in the middle of Spring. Why not? The acoustic guitar is accompanied by Jacobís charismatic brittle vocals, and some strange electronic frequencies are bleeping in the background. The following The Stars Are Shooting At Us is the albumís only distorted rock song, at under two minutes the EPís shortest, but also most memorable track. This is the Jacob Faurholt that I have come to admire the best. Doctor Please incorporates the aforementioned voicemails and field recordings, although the middle part is one of these morbid ballads that can really bring you down, but in a good way. Carousel is another lo-fi song with acoustic guitar and melodica, quite nice but not as catchy as the previous tracks. The album ends with the short instrumental Instrumental, something like an afterthought played on some kind of Eighties synth.

I really like the first three parts, canít say I am too hot on the spoken word parts because they feel like padding the EP over ten minutes. In the end, itís a nice teaser for what may yet come, but a regular EP with double the material would have made for a more lasting listening experience.

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