The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Country/punk infusion leaves Upon Leaving unsatisfying

By Kenney Kost/ne news editor

A bit of Texas country and American punk form the foundation for J. Charles and the Trainrobbers’ first full-length effort Upon Leaving.

Upon Leaving is a concept album, the story of lead singer J. Charles Saenz’ journey from his home in Los Angeles to Texas, leaving behind his family and girlfriend for a fresh start.

Most of the lyrics, though, appear to be directed at the relationship with his ex-girlfriend and the need to separate for the sake of both of them. The second track, “Mercy Killing,” is just one example.

The song goes: “There’s a bullet here for me, a bullet here for you. Only problem is we love each other too damn much to shoot. I know they call this mercy killing, ain’t no mercy here for me or for you.”

The album has one or two standout tracks. The rest blend together, turning into background music. Normally, a band of this nature thrives on a hit single. But the record does not have a single worthy track. Good songs? Yes. Great songs? No.

Some of this can be attributed to work done in the studio. The vocals get lost amid the high-crashing cymbals and sometimes-shrill guitars.

Normally in a concept album, the band takes more risks in the studio and production. Aside from a few sound effects between tracks or maybe a sustained note that carries from one track to the next, J. Charles takes no risk at all. This album presents nothing new to the ears of the masses who enjoy this type of music.

The band has talent, and each member displays a good knowledge of his or her instrument. It’s the culmination of styles and sound that seems to be the issue. Even with the energy from the punk infusion, the band does not stand out in the crowded Texas country genre.

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