Kristina Train – Spilt Milk

January 01, 1970

(Blue Note)


Singer-songwriter Kristina Train’s Blue Note debut Spilt Milk is
poised to make a big splash in the pop music world. Train’s voice is husky,
rich and dark with a big range and maturity of style that belies her age (she’s
27). Showing restraint, she avoids the common freshman mistake of hurling all
of her considerable chops into every chorus of every tune while straining to
impress. She’s confident – and with good reason. She’s got game.       


The tunes are filled with classic Brill Building, ‘60s/’70s era pop
songwriting with all the requisite attention to form and the details of
arranging and instrumentation. Catchy melodies, strings, background vocal harmonies,
horns, carefully placed dynamics, and lots of lyrics about love. Think Carol
King meets Petula Clark with a good amount of Motown and blues feeling thrown
in. Although there doesn’t seem to be anything too personally revealing in the
lyrics, they’re generally engaging if not overly illuminating, intriguing, or
challenging (there are a few exceptions). But that doesn’t matter much. It’s
killer ear candy.


There’s a bit of filler (the title track, “It’s Over Now,” and “Half
Light”), but nothing that brings the record close to a halt. There’s a feeling
in some of the arrangements of groping for greatness instead of digging for the
song – like they prescribed the “sound” or style they’d wanted before taking
the song itself into account. But this issue never creeps into Train’s singing


“Don’t Remember” is the first track that really shines. Train soaring
over the background vocal harmonies in the chorus is an eye opener and the
lyric’s a heartbreaker of trying to get past a loss. Her nailing of the tune’s
climactic line, “I’ll have the world/But I won’t see your face,” is
perhaps the best moment on the record. On the title line of “No Man’s Land,”
Train shows she’s got power to burn and for a moment comes through more like
raspy rocker Melissa Etheridge than any perfectionist Brill Building
tunesmith. This aspect of her voice recalls a story she tells of when she was
younger: “I remember hearing Janis Joplin’s records and thinking, ‘What is that all about?’ When we had thunderstorms I would go up to the roof and scream at
the top of my lungs because I wanted to make my voice raspier. God only knows
what that’s done to me.”


While it may not be the best-suited to become a hit, the finest tune on
the record is “Call In The Maker.” It’s a ringer. A closer. The deal maker.
This tune has energy to burn and will be covered by hundreds of singers and
instrumentalists; professionals and hobbyists. Killer hooks, a monster groove,
and Train belting out inspirational lyrics. It’s the kind of song a crowd doesn’t
want to end and it’s easy to imagine her and the band blowing on an extended
jam version of this track live.


With writing and producing credits from Jimmy Hogarth (Corinne Bailey
Rae, James Blunt, Amy Winehouse) and Eg White (Joss Stone, Adele) attached to Spilt
the record should get a good amount of attention. And with Train
being young, good looking, and so talented, it/she will likely be in the
running come awards season. Train will be deserving of whatever good she


Standout Tracks: “Don’t
Remember,” “You’re Still Going To Lose,” “Moon Rivers And Such,” “Call In The



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