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Big Big Train - The Second Brightest Star CD (album) cover


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

3.76 | 316 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars The Folklore remakes are the best tracks.

Like all BBT albums, this one leaves a really positive impression on first listen. The performances and recording quality are top notch, and the singing is great as usual. However, like some other BBT albums (e.g. Folklore), this one doesn't fare as well on repeated listens. First of all, it does seem like a number of tracks on this album are 'seconds' left of Grimspound for various reasons (perhaps the reason for the title?), with one good reason being these tracks are for the most part slower and lower energy than that album. This is not always a bad thing - the title track stands up OK even though it is fairly slow, and Terra Australia Ingognita is one of the best new tracks here despite being a slow instrumental. Meanwhile Haymaking sounds like it should have been left ON Grimspound, as its folkiness would fit very well on the latter album (as it would have on Folklore). But another reason some of these may have been left off is that some of these tracks are simply not very musical. Skylon, London Stone, and Passing Widow, in particular are not only slow but not sufficiently tuneful. They get boring after only a couple of listens. But it is when one gets to the extended remakes of the two tunes from the Folklore album that inadequacy of many of the other tracks hits home. The remakes (of Brooklands, and London Plane, now here called "The Brooklands Sequence" and "The London Plane Sequence") are really excellent - musical, complex, varied, with new extended parts that really show off the band's virtuosity. Brilliant drumming, great guitar solos, wonderful dynamics. These were already the best two songs on Folklore, and they are even better here (and in their extended versions, together take up half an hour). They really show up what is missing on the rest of The Second Brightest Star, which in comparison is much less dynamic, less musical, less memorable. Without these two extended tracks, the album wouldn't be nearly as interesting. I give this album 7.5 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is a decent outcome, and equates to 3 PA stars. It is the extended tracks (as well as Haymaking, Terra Australia) that make the album worth having.

Walkscore | 3/5 |


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