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


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

4.20 | 934 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars This is the second album by this particular Big Big Train lineup after The Underfall Yard, but the improvement over that one is astonishing. Trimming back the stable of guest musicians substantially and offering a spruced-up sound which combines progressive rock song structures and compositional techniques to a somewhat broader aesthetic than most prog, the album manages to be simultaneously quite accessible and at the same time a real prog revelation.

Founder member Greg Spawton's guitar work on this is a real highlight, particularly in the way he brings in influences which most prog guitarists tend to overlook. For instance, his performance on Uncle Jack begins in a folky style with just a whiff of bluegrass to it, but as the song progresses and complexities pile up it ends up gradually mutating into something much more unusual. David Longdon's one of those prog vocalists who likes to mimic Peter Gabriel, but he's stunningly good at it and his performance sounds absolutely natural and not forced at all.

The traces of Spock's Beard I could hear on The Underfall Yard are well and truly gone - as, indeed, is any obvious imitation of past prog bands. This album is, in short, a true prog original, as well as one of my biggest surprises of the year - having been none too impressed by the band's back catalogue, I really hadn't planned on giving them another go, but the high praise given to this one made me feel compelled to relent on that and I'm profoundly glad I did. Big Big Train fans will be thrilled by their heroes' latest triumph; prog fans who have previously given them short shift might be advised to give this one a taste because it might just win them over.

Warthur | 5/5 |


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