Trains, Boats and Planes is a charming early release from the Frank & Walters. The album sees the band creating music of a more anthem-oriented rock sound than later releases. The subject matter is the same, but the songwriting is less subtle. The music is overall more dependent on guitars than Beauty Becomes More Than Life and Glass. The feel of the album is actually quite similar to that of Grand Parade, but the production isn't as sharp and there's less refinement of the musical grandeur on display. The album sees the band concerned primarily with matters of the heart and friendships. On "This Is Not a Song," Paul Linehan sings that the song isn't about politics, sex, James Dean, animals, trees, or wealth; it's "a song I wrote especially for you/I want to say thank you for having me." There's quite a few touching, sincere, and sweetly awkward moments of a similar nature on the album. "Trainspotters," with a guitar underscore that sounds straight from Johnny Marr's songbook, sees the bittersweet tale of a trainspotter named Tim, with Linehan asking, "Does Timmy know the score?" It's the sort of touching moment fans have come to adore. Every song maintains an optimistic core that things will always turn out right with a little bit of love in one's heart. "Fashion Crisies Hits New York" employs epic guitars and deeper-pitched vocals than usual from Linehan and jangling background sounds. Trains, Boats and Planes might not be the Frank & Walters' most focused album musically, but that might be the fault of the slightly tinny production. Since it was out of print for quite some time, it might be a pleasant find for newcomers. It would be hard to imagine a more positive, under-appreciated band than the Frank & Walters, and these 11 songs simply prove that a band can continue along in one style, with only minute changes from album to album, and have an incredible career. Trains, Boats and Planes is entirely winning, and it's a necessary addition to any fan's collection.
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AllMusic Review by Tim DiGravina