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

THE UNDERFALL YARD

Big Big Train

 

Crossover Prog

4.16 | 543 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars This is the first album I heard from these guys; I wanted to check it out due to all the positive reviews this was getting. Before listening to this, I wasn't sure I was going to like it much. Turns out I enjoyed it a lot more than I ever thought I would. You can definitely hear a Genesis influence in the music, but it also sounds more modern as well. Lots of guest musicans on the album, some more famous than others. The lyrics are very England- oriented. This is apparently a concept album about Victorian England.

The album opens with great a capella harmony vocals in the otherwise instrumental "Evening Star". Great electric piano and tom-tom centred drumming at first. Nice flute solo. Great brass at the end. "Master James Of St. George" has great marching style drumming and catchy lyrics. Unlike the vocals on the first track, I don't really like the harmony vocals here. I do like the bass and the guitar solo in the middle, which continues until the vocals come back. Nice whistling and the sound of waves at the end.

I don't like the beginning of "Victorian Brickwork" very much. It's the second longest song but overall doesn't do much for me until over halfway with the eerie piano and crazy drumming. Then a hard rock riff. Good ending with the keyboards and brass before some vocals, acoustic guitar and flute finish it. "Winchester Diver" has good sounding synth at the start. Good flute and guitar work in this song. The flute melody is great and is sometimes double- tracked. I like the backwards effects before the singing begins and violin comes in. Gets very Genesis sounding near the end. Backwards effects with eerie music comes back at the end.

The almost 23 minute title track has some good guitar playing and drumming at the beginning before some great piano chords. Followed by more great playing and then the vocals start. I like the parts with the line "he can still see faaaaar..." Good guitar solo around the 5 minute mark. Cool Mellotron in this track (or is it a digital imitation like a Memotron?) Nice synth solo around 6 1/2 minutes. The harmony vocals halfway are good. Some subtle but good use of (electric?) sitar throughout the piece. Another good synth solo after 15 minutes, followed by some great cello. Later on some great organ playing. More great harmony vocals. You hear the sounds of people making noises at one point. Later a Wakeman-style synth solo; not as good as the others IMO. Ends with some sitar arpeggios. This epic generally flows well but some parts are better than others.

The sound and production is very well done. The compositions are good and the playing is genrally great. I can see why many like this album, but this is usually not my kind of music. I'm not sure if I would enjoy their earlier albums or not. I enjoyed this album for the most part, but I don't think it's something I would listen to very often. Recommended to Symph and Neo fans. I would rate this as 3.5 but I'll bump it up to 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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