Richard Thorne & the Teasels,
Freight Trains & Strange Dreams
(self-produced, 2002)

Freight Trains & Strange Dreams is OK at times, sometimes disjointed, but mostly mediocre. Richard Thorne's voice teeters on the edge of being off-key and caterwauling. His vocal style is unique but comes across a little uneasy in several tracks. In most songs, his style kinda/sorta suits, but in "Every Road I Travel" and "The Steeple" he's all over the place and it stings. The Teasels do an adequate job of accompanying Thorne, but their performance doesn't stand out as memorable. They keep the pace and follow through the songs, but there's seemingly no prevalent energy or effort.

"Getting Hurt is Nothing New" is a nice ditty that is a comfortable juxtaposition of Thorne's & the Teasels' older style with a bureaucratic topic of "casualty insurance" and liability. In this song, more than any other on the album, everything gels. It's a fun, satiric song performed with an obvious love. It's too bad the other songs don't give off that same vibe.

It seems that, for the most part, Richard Thorne & the Teasels are just going through the motions. It's too bad -- this album had potential. The lyrics are actually quite good, but the performances are generally lackluster. If they could only capture whatever they used while recording "Getting Hurt is Nothing New" in the other songs, this would have been a much better album.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 29 March 2003

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