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Big Big Train - Folklore CD (album) cover

FOLKLORE

Big Big Train

 

Crossover Prog

4.02 | 604 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

fuxi
Prog Reviewer
5 stars [I originally wrote the following review back in 2017:]

This is it, with this album Big Big Train truly establish themselves as prog gods, I mean, after THE UNDERFALL YARD and the live triumph of STONE AND STEEL there couldn't really be any doubt, but FOLKLORE makes it plain that the band reach heights few can aspire to. In my opinion FOLKLORE is even stronger than its immediate successor, GRIMSPOUND, mainly because it rocks harder. To my surprise, some reviewers have complained the album features tunes which are easy on the ear - a form of reasoning I really don't understand! Just think about it: 'Firth of Fifth', 'Mother Goose' and 'Karn Evil 9' all sound supremely catchy (at least in part) and they're from albums many of us recognise as masterpieces... Besides, anyone who listens without prejudice will notice David Longdon's vocals now sound more confident and mature than ever. Furthermore, the album as a whole clearly benefits from the prominent violin playing of Rachel Hall. Finally, while FOLKLORE boasts fewer soaring guitar solos than THE UNDERFALL YARD, I was delighted by the large number of imaginative keyboard solos. All in all, I simply have to agree with those Prog Archives colleagues who have stated that FOLKLORE shows BBT at the top of their game.

All of which makes me wonder: how is it possible BBT aren't even mentioned in ROCK PROGRESSIF, Aymeric Leroy's authoritative French study of the genre (2014) or in THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS by David Weigl (2017), an informal chronicle which caused quite a stir in the U.S. media? Both Weigl and Leroy are sympathetic towards progressive rock and devote entire chapters to the "rebirth" of the genre after its 1980s nadir. Does BBT music (in all its Englishness) have difficulty travelling across the pond? Surely everyone must notice that (especially since 2009) BBT have mastered the classic 1970s British prog sound AND are taking it in exciting new directions?

In the past, bands such as Yes were habitually accused of sounding "over-technical". I finally realised how wrong this was when I heard Rick Wakeman say that for him Yes's music was all about emotion - and that emotion lay mainly in Jon Anderson's voice. Well, folks, even apart from the virtuosity BBT so abundantly display, I can think of no other current prog band that conveys subtle feelings in a more sophisticated manner. Long may BBT thrive!

fuxi | 5/5 |

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