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Big Big Train - The Underfall Yard CD (album) cover

THE UNDERFALL YARD

Big Big Train

 

Crossover Prog

4.16 | 547 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars BIG BIG TRAIN's drummer has left making them a trio. Nick D'Virgillo who guested on the last one takes care of all the drum duties this time (still a guest though). There's a new singer as well in David Longdon who was suggested by Martin Orford. David sang on Martin's solo record "The Old Road". Once again the words and music are by Greg Spawton (guitar, keys, & bass), while Andy Poole (bass & keys) produced and recorded this album. The lyrics focus on the unheralded people who had different roles in England's history. Greg is very interested in the history of his country and draws attention to these unsung heroes. Man there's been so much hype about this album. I think it's excellent but I still prefer the previous album "The Difference Machine". I just really like how different and spacious it is. This one's more pastoral but just so beautifully arranged and performed. Speaking of performances, Dave Gregory from XTC plays some real mellotron on "Victorian Brickwork" the rest of the mellotron as with their past albums is sampled. Dave also plays guitar throughout. Gem Godfrey from FROST and Francis Dunnery from IT BITES both guest on the title track. There are other guests as well.

"Evening Star" opens with multi-vocal melodies then it turns melancholic when they stop. It kicks in after 2 1/2 minutes with some flute from vocalist Dave Longdon (he also plays dulcimer, mandolin, organ, psaltry and glockenspiel !). Lots of mellotron here too. It settles with horns. "Master James Of St.George" opens with drums, bass, guitar then vocals. It becomes fuller a minute in. It settles right away though and contrasts continue. Nice guitar solo from Dave Gregory 4 1/2 minutes in. Whistling ends it as the waves roll in. "Victorian Brickwork" opens with reserved vocals and a pastoral soundscape. It kicks in around 2 minutes. Some nice bass follows. The tempo and mood continue to change. A calm 8 1/2 minutes in with cello and mellotron. French horn joins in. This is fairly uplifting. It ends with those reserved vocals. I must say that the last three songs are much better than the first three.

So we get cooking with "Last Train" which opens with vocals, guitar, drums and chunky bass. Mellotron joins in then organ. Guitar and a great sound 3 1/2 minutes in. I like the guitar / drum section after 4 minutes that goes on and on. I love the mellotron that rolls in around 6 minutes. "Winchester Diver" sounds heavenly to start out with those deep bass lines and dreamy soundscapes. Cello comes in followed by mellotron, flute and organ. A calm with reserved vocals after 2 1/2 minutes. He sounds like Hogarth after 3 minutes. A fuller sound follows. I am so into these last two tracks. The final song is the 23 minute title track. Lots of tempo and mood shifts along with more chunky bass, mellotron, flute and cello.The guitar and synths solos are great. We also get tuba, cornet, French horn and trombone. Lots of vocals too. A real trip back into history.

Easily 4 stars. I agree with Rivertree (Uwe) that this album does reveal new things with each listen. A real depth and class to this recording.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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