[ALBUM: Review] Graveyard Train – Hollow
Melbourne’s Graveyard Train may have given up a bit of the tongue-in-cheek humour and supernatural subject matter in their third full-length instalment, but the loss leads us on an epic, ballad-filled journey into deep dark philosophical ponderings, reminding us that we’re all just bags of bones waiting to turn into dust.
Hollow builds leisurely, with tracks like ‘I’m Gone’ and ‘Life Is Elsewhere’ marching us through twangy guitar and steel string over smoky vocals and stompin’ beats. The band’s songwriting skills become apparent throughout the second half of the album, notably with the hauntingly beautiful ‘Hollow Wind’, which hangs heavy with the echoing of the seven-man chorus and the soulful slide guitar. The menacing chorus in ‘Mary Melody’ welcomes back a snippet of horror narrative through a heavy haze of spurs and whiskey and a galloping bonanza-style showdown at the end, while ‘The End Of The World’ starts off dark and sultry with the man choir chanting about – wait for it – the end of the world. With monumental lines like “God’s breath ain’t a breeze / It’s a red hot burning wind” and a spooky ethereal slide guitar curling over the rolling banjo, it makes a fitting album closer.
Graveyard Train continue to surpass their alt-country/blues band contemporaries even with the toning down of their horror and their humour. With the combined power of their voices, delivering lyrical imagery like “I’ve got a rattlesnake curled up in my brain”, along with arguably one of the best slide players in the country and the rattling of chains and blasts of banjo, Hollow maintains the essential elements of the band while delving into newer, more sombre territory.