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Tess Callaghan – Trans-Siberian Tracks

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Pleasant, but insubstantial, evocation of a cross-continental journey.

Image of Tess Callaghan – Trans-Siberian Tracks

Trans-Siberian Tracks allegedly recaptures the Irish singer-songwriter’s own journey on the Trans-Siberian railway, and though in interviews she waxes lyrical about the wonderful sights and experiences of said journey, these sensations are notably absent – musically – from the collection.  “You have to come out of that [journey] with a sense of rhythm and melody as well as songs with a story,” the singer tells the Irish World, but this album conveys no feelings of awe or wonder and there is certainly no evocation of the atmosphere of such an iconic journey.  

On the positive side, Callaghan has a pleasant voice, the album is impeccably produced by Callaghan herself, and the songs themselves are lively and bouncy. But the whole collection feels vacuous and empty.

The title track, Trans Siberian Express, is a pleasant enough pop number but has nothing of the majesty of starting out on an epic journey, plus conveys little of the arc of a Siberian sky or the vistas about to unfold; and though Siberia, the next track starts with promise it again descends into pleasant but superficial pop. Russian Doll is probably the best track of the collection, making use of some Cyrillic phrasing and more atmospheric lyrics, but, alas, the album as a whole is less impressive. 

 


Max Scratchmann is a well-known British writer and illustrator. His poems and short stories have appeared in many anthologies and magazines, and he runs the Edinburgh performance poetry company, Poetry Circus.

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