[Jandek] When I Took That Train

Paul Condon paulgcondon at gmail.com
Fri Mar 25 10:26:00 PST 2005

Just heard about the gig - I might even make it to this one.
The new cd arrived today - the 40th album if I'm not mistaken. The
cover features you-know-who standing on a corner in a European city on
a rainy day. I'd guess it's London - you can see a red double-decker
bus and what looks like a London Underground sign. The old buildings
look very distinctive, so the location should be easily identified.
The man himself is bearded, wearing a light brown suit and a black
hat. He's quite a way back from the camera, so I get the sense that
the picture was taken by a companion rather than by a passer-by on
request. The first cover featuring Jandek in an identifiable location,
and also the first to feature other people (distant) in the
background. Musically the album is very similar to the last one (shock
horror), featuring acoustic guitar throughout all 11 songs. Lyrically,
it's pretty much a sequel to The Door Behind, apparently dealing with
the same relationship, which seems to be going well. He's as obsessive
and intense about it as always, but mentions that he's been around
enough to be able to take it if the relationship ended. Though the
mood is positive and even ecstatic, the delivery is often disturbing,
as usual partly because of the intimate nature of the material. Much
of the lyrics seem to be spontaneous, and on a few songs in the middle
of the album he repeatedly babbles long, repetitive lines until he
runs out of breath. The last few songs - Angel Moves,  Thing Called
Me, and My Escape, introduce more opaque imagery. Thing Called Me in
particular is one of his odd metaphysical numbers, in which he sings
of having existed for 6 million years... another head-scratcher,
folks! On first hearing I didn't notice the album title appearing in
the lyrics.

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