Train Does Led Zeppelin II


Crush Music/Atlantic, 2016

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


When this project was first announced, I found myself laughing, no, rolling on the floor because it sounded so weird and unexpected. But no, this is reality. For the follow-up to 2014’s Bulletproof Picasso, Train has decided to release a track-for-track cover of Led Zeppelin’s classic sophomore album. Of course when it came out I had to have a listen for myself to see if it was worth all the derisive laughter – and while some of it is, it’s not that bad altogether, though it's still one of the strangest records to come out this year.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

From the outset, it is very clear frontman Pat Monahan is no Robert Plant, nor will he ever be. It is downright laughable to hear him croon “Squeeze my lemon baby ‘til the juice run down my leg.” That’s why tracks like “The Lemon Song,” the classic and almost canonical “Whole Lotta Love” and “Ramble On” don’t end up working as well as they could, you know, as done by Zeppelin.

But the thing that really saves the record are the musicians themselves, particularly drummer Drew Shoals and guitarist (and only other original member) Jimmy Stafford. In fact, the band ends up making up for a lot of the weaknesses on the disc just by proving how adept they are at playing outside of their genre. On “Moby Dick,” which is of course a John Bonham standout, Shoals makes it his showcase. He even manages to not screw it up; in fact, he actually does a very admirable job.

“Thank You” is a real showcase for the band. For once, Monahan is not trying as hard to sound like a Plant imitator or clone; he sounds a bit more like himself here. This track was quite the surprise of the whole disc. So even though this may not have been the best idea, at least we got something reasonably decent out of it.

The worst offender on this disc is without a doubt “Heartbreaker,” which feels way too much like an oldies cover band with a bigger budget. It’s very cheesy and sounds like a stripper anthem. Meanwhile, closer “Bring It On Home” is not the style of song a band like Train should ever, EVER try! Train is not a blues band, and more importantly, does not have the soul of a blues band.

Overall, while this release wasn’t a very smart idea for a band whose popularity is on the decline, it wasn’t a complete washout, so we can all be thankful for that.

Rating: C

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© 2016 Pete Crigler and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Crush Music/Atlantic, and is used for informational purposes only.