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Big Big Train - English Electric (Part One) CD (album) cover

ENGLISH ELECTRIC (PART ONE)

Big Big Train

 

Crossover Prog

4.21 | 1088 ratings

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ElChanclas
5 stars EEPO is the seventh studio album by prog act Big Big Train and the 2nd to feature late vocalist and multi- instrumentalist David Longdon. Their music covers a lot of ground, with symphonic and folk passages cleverly mixed with their Neo prog base, and this being my personal interpretation of their art.

The First Rebreather opens the album and should be enough of a good song to bring the listener closer to the speakers (headphones or whatever) and guarantee their attention for the next hour or so. Longdon could sing like Peter Gabriel, like Phil Collins, like Sinatra, you name it! But must important he sounded like him, arguably the best voice in the modern prog world. I like all arrangements and changes along the track, as well as the different melodies used in vocals and in the guitar licks, those licks that elegantly appeared in the back of the song but at the same time fill the little gaps left by the outstanding keyboard and bass guitar displayed! Awesome start to a soon to be "classic album".

Uncle Jack is all Longdon, I'm just pretty sure (supported on interviews watched and his participation in other song's writing) this mood is his personality, it fits with him. Storytelling, happy, funny, sad, melancholic, up tempo, a weird mix of emotions with a folk structure that makes the song even more charming and somehow memorable. Again, the guitar work is brutal, simple but brutal!

Winchester from St. Giles' Hill follows entering a more British moody and thick ambience. It may sound crazy to some, but I can hear some vocal similitud to Hogarth's performance in some passages from FEAR, maybe a little influence? Why not, right? His voice was so spectacular that I'm sure it was admired even by counterparts. I'm any case, the duo Spawton-Longdon could really create some magic moments, the piano playing is also a highlight of this song which to my taste is a top song from the band's latter catalog. Spawton is a genius, period.

Judas Unrepentant. I could really write a whole review just based on the greatness of this sole track, the incredible musical variety and beautiful lyrical content (historical BTW) that it smartly holds, masterpiece! I can play it again and again, discovering new stuff every single time and vowing to admire the band's musicianship. How can a song be more perfect? Add Sj÷blom in guitars and play it even louder! Violin and flute, flute and guitar, guitar and organs, organs and bass, bass and drums. Chapeau

Summoned by Bells. Soft and ballad sounding, maybe the less immediate track of the album, at least for me. At first I felt it was a little flat compared to the previous almost 30mins of music, but then I began to understand how it really worked and found answers to the all my mental inquiries, and it is a characteristic of all Spawton compositions, a constant progression of instrumentation that sometimes feel like going nowhere but once you let it kick in it takes you by the hand and guides you towards the end, happy, focused and surprised with some seductive sax that adds a jazzy prog rhythm relying in the bass guitar.

Upton Heath combines Spawton's English sense of melancholic music crafting with the positive and beautiful aura that definitely surrounded Longdon's songwriting. Nice and calm tune with that haunting cello (is that a cello) that leads the way to a mirage return to the The First Rebreather's mood.

A Boy in Darkness takes us back to the storytelling with a song that sounds very personal and very lived, showcasing Longdon's amazing voice, powerful and big, perfectly suited for a Big Big Train. Its dark but hopeful at the same time and it allows all instruments to have their moment of greatness, even the little ones like the flute and the strings, smartly placed late in the queue just when more greatness from the band will be not so easy to get, false! Incredible musical performance top to bottom. Why did I discovered this band so late in my life? Not fair, not fair we don't have that human being walking the Aretha anymore. Out of my system, thanks.

Hedgerow. I've always said that huge (and even better if epic too) incredible songs are important for me when album-closer songs are on topic, thankfully this song stands for what is needed after almost 50mins of excellency. A mix of early folky REM-like opening that blends with Collins's era Genesis to form a perfectly structured prog epic, and the strings! I just love those string arrangements and their hypnotic sound. The drumming is simply fenomenal, mandolins playing alongside electric guitar soloing like blending effortlessly two musical eras. Epic ending, epic musicianship. Can't wait to dig deeper into their whole catalog. THE END

ElChanclas | 5/5 |

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