[17 December 2009]
Partially named after the subway system that runs through Cambridge, Massachusetts, the mighty Choo Choo la Rouge celebrates ten years together as a band with the long-awaited release of its second album, Black Clouds. On Matador recording artist Jennifer O’Connor’s Kiam imprint, this ten-track collection is a veritable Ivy League Master’s class in pop songwriting. It sounds as though these three men have spent a lot of time listening to vintage Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, early R.E.M., and George Harrison’s Living in the Material World, as songs like “Mostly Air”, “I’m a Truck” and “Coffee Spoons” clearly indicate, while album opener “The Relentless Money Love Blues” might remind one of the Hold Steady before the quartet became a parody of itself. Black Clouds might have been a disc that wound up in the Pitchfork throwaway pile, but that shouldn’t stop you from hopping aboard this excellent train of sound and appreciating the expert pop prowess of Choo Choo la Rouge.