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Big Big Train - Grand Tour CD (album) cover

GRAND TOUR

Big Big Train

 

Crossover Prog

4.15 | 240 ratings

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santisoux
5 stars Big Big Train - Grand Tour

An album, the great ones, usually deliver us a sense of continuity, a sense of form that leads to a narrative of sorts, may it be conceptual and abstract (The Dark Side of the Moon) or something thematically more coherent alongside a story (take Tommy, The lamb, Snow, etc.) There are other albums that despite being conceptual deliver a series of individual pieces that connect one with the other and forming a sense of unity, which still, carries the individual spirit of each element (The Raven that refused to sing). This is that kind of album. And album which formally, tonally and in the general idea of the music itself takes us back to the days of English Electric? The opening is a very airy piece, which serves as an introduction to the "single" of the album, it's a promising start. Then it gradually grows in complexity and the music starts to densify, lyrically and musically. In "Roman Stone" is where I think things started to really grow on me, the deliverance of the vocal harmonies and the textures the entire track managed to provide make it one of my favorite songs in the entire BBT catalogue. There is a really beautiful moment where all instruments build up this momentum that continues on and on until the entire theme deconstructs itself, introducing back the vocals. It took me to another site of far from my desk (where I'm listening). The next piece is an instrumental, that allows Mr. D'Virgilio to do what he couldn`t provide in Spock`s Beard, which is a multilayered piece full of intricate elements but generally coherent and not full of the "quirkiness" of The Beard past instrumentals. It connects to another piece where he has involvement, a regular, typical, ballad of Big Big Train (I still prefer Upton Heath). The next two pieces are suites. Ariel, being a more upbeat one, hard at times, but generally so full of energy and emotive moments it's also (in my opinion) one of the highlights of the album. The suite starts as a sort of hymn took me to the shores of the last song of English Electric II, but then, this distorted guitar enters and brings another element of history. It's so full of comings and goings that the entire piece is a very enjoyable ride. Voyager starts with piano and the vocals of Longdon cruising across the universe, it's a perfect way to start a long piece of music. The tempo at around 4 minutes really gets you into the suite; all instruments combine to a beautiful moment of serenity? the story of life comes around. The violin then starts to rebuild everything back again in a typicall environment the band is used to produce, coming close to any climax produced by GYBE. The vocals return for the last two parts and manage to create a very nice ending for the piece, leading directly to the last song. Homesong is a very beautiful ending for a very beautiful album. The ride has been something entirely new, refreshing, bringing Big Big Train back to a new sound as good as the one in English Electric. The sense of storytelling is out there as something to consider.

santisoux | 5/5 |

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