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Big Big Train - Folklore CD (album) cover


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

4.02 | 604 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars My second Big Big Train acquisition after "English Electric" and an album I felt somewhat essential to my collection. Not only had I been entertaining the idea of purchasing another BBT album but the artwork impressed me so, and furthermore, for the first time since becoming a member on PA, I was actually interested in purchasing new releases of the year.

After a few listens to the whole album plus additional listens to selected tracks, my lingering impression is that this band have a knack for musical perfection. First, they know their place as a progressive rock/folk band; the music embraces both the electric and rockin' side when called for but also keeps a firm handle on the folk side with its accoutrement of acoustic instruments such as acoustic guitar, violin, viola, cello, flute, mandolin, and even accordion. Dave Longdon, who initially left me with the impression that he sounded a lot like Genesis-era Peter Gabriel when I first heard "English Electric", has now proven to me he has his own distinct voice.

As can be expected from this band, the nine songs offered here are carefully crafted with lyrics poetically depicting English imagery, history, and folklore and sung with expression and feeling. The instruments contribute with an impeccable sense for timing and mood. The drums come in with a shuffle or jazzy intro, or roll and rock the skins. The piano lays down beautiful blossoming paths while the organ throws out meaty notes. The band can play for speed and complexity, subtlety and grace, tension and atmosphere. Just listen to that foreboding intro to "Salisbury Giant" or see the pigeons take flight with the flutes in "Winkie". Swing your pint glass of apple cider to "Wassail" and smile to the endearing lyrics and melody of "Telling the Bees".

Yes, this is an album that has been crafted to perfection. And yet there is one nagging thought I have about it: there are few parts that really make my ears prick up and have me asking, "What track is this? This is fantastic!" I really like "Winkie" for the story and how the music and lyrics help create the image of the story. "Salisbury Giant" has a great intro. "London Plane" and "Brooklands" have pretty cool instrumental sections. There's something in each track really. However, there aren't any songs that hit me with that extra jolt that has me cuing up the culprit song for replay day after day.

That final thought aside, the modern prog fan can't really go wrong with Big Big Train and this album really shows what they are made of. An easy four stars with an eye on 4.5.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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