#30 – Boats and Trains

13 Apr

Boats and Trains (Youtube)
Boats and Trains on Pulpwiki

A free-form 97-second sketch of a song, Boats and Trains plays its role as a natural coda to side one of ‘It’ so well that it’s hard to believe it came from an entirely different session. With only a long EPs-worth of tracks ready for album, it was plucked out of the ‘Spice’ demo recorded earlier in the year to bring It up to LP-length.
There’s not an awful lot to it, but what is there works quite well. Simon Hinkler plays intricate Spanish seaside mandolin, Jarvis strums the same chords on an acoustic guitar and sings wistfully over the top. The only development in the song comes towards the end when David Hinkler adds a few gentle touches of his Yamaha organ to the mix and Jarvis gives up singing, mid-sentence, to croon “la la la” instead.
The lyrics are typical of the songs Jarvis wrote that summer – simple and sincere, a reaction against the pretentions of his late-70s work. He asks if you would “like to hear / about the things I fear?” but quickly moves on to “If I told you a secret / you’d be sure to leak it.” After the open-hearted yearnings of the previous three tracks on ‘It’ it’s a nice touch to turn against the listener, implying they are a gossip, and not to be trusted, refusing to sing anything but “la la la.” Side two then follows on much more oblique, less personal lines.
It’s a pretty enough interlude, but there’s no evidence that anyone had any ideas on how to develop it further. The fade-out is surprising on first listen, and it may have been longer at some point – Wayne Furniss is credited with playing bass on the track, but there’s none there at all. 97 seconds, though, in the end, is enough.

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