Post-rock band I Like Trains is England's answer to the epic sweep of acts like Sigur Rós, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, and Explosions in the Sky. But where many bands in this style either sing in made-up languages, bury their deliberately obscurist lyrics in a wall of noise, or ignore vocals entirely, I Like Trains proffers a unique twist on the style. Singer David Martin's lyrics concern the dusty corners of world history, with songs about the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated and the mental breakdown of chess champion Bobby Fischer. Add in the band's penchant for playing gigs in vintage British Rail uniforms while projecting random film loops onto the stage, and a quirky sense of humor becomes evident.
I Like Trains (originally stylized iLiKETRAiNS) formed in Leeds in 2003 while its members were attending Leeds University. Martin, guitarist and keyboardist Guy Bannister, bassist Alistair Bowis, drummer Simon Fogal, and cornet player Ashley Dean (who's also in charge of the band's visuals, including videos and the aforementioned film loops) played local gigs and recorded several self-released demos before releasing their debut single, "Before the Curtains Close," in April 2005. "A Rook House for Bobby" followed later that year. In 2006, the Fierce Panda label released the single "Terra Nova" and the EP Progress Reform, which included several tracks from the preceding singles. Later in 2006, I Like Trains signed to the established indie Beggars Banquet, which released Elegies to Lessons Learnt in the second half of 2007. Despite charting in the U.K., they were then dropped by the label and issued He Who Saw the Deep and Shallows on their own I Like Records label in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
In 2016, the directing team of Matthew Hopkins and Benjamin Lankester organized festival screenings of a documentary about I Like Trains that covered the three-year period after Shallows. About pressing on as band after losing the backing of a label and starting families, A Divorce Before Marriage featured an instrumental score by the band. A Divorce Before Marriage [Original Soundtrack] was self-released that December. ~ Stewart Mason