Friday, May 14, 2021

The Loft - Ghost Trains & Country Lanes – Studio, Stage And Sessions 1984-2015

While there have been a couple of compilations devoted to The Loft before now, Ghost Trains & Country Lanes, which was compiled by the band and contains 16 previously unreleased tracks, is by far the most comprehensive and a definite must-have.  Back in the early days of Creation Records, The Loft was considered one of the most promising bands on the label.  Unfortunately, after recording only seven studio songs that were released over two singles, the band broke up onstage in the middle of a song at the Hammersmith Palais during a tour opening for the Colourfield. Those seven songs open this 2-CD collection and definitely show their potential by perfectly drawing together elements of post punk and jangly guitar rock (the song “Your Door Shines Like Gold” off the second single is worth the price of admission all by itself).  This era is also represented with four cuts from a September 1984 BBC Radio 1 Session with Janice Long, only one of which had been recorded for the two singles.  Amongst the three that hadn’t been recorded in the studio were “On A Tuesday” and “The Canal and the Big Red Town" a couple of songs that most likely would have been huge hits had they been given the chance before the band imploded.  There is also a live ten song set from August 1984 (all but one of these had been previously unreleased).  Surprisingly the band reunited in 2005 and showed they hadn’t missed a beat releasing another two song single, which is also included here along with three previously unreleased songs that were recorded at that time.  The final four cuts here are from another BBC Session, this time with Gideon Coe in September of 2015, which was 35 years after the band was initially formed.  Three of these songs are from those first two singles and while they stand the test of time, you can definitely here the maturity in the band’s performance.   

(Cherry Red Records)

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