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


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

4.08 | 766 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mr. Mustard
5 stars Big Big Train is back at it again, this time with the second part of their English Electric series. Being a massive fan of the first, I had high expectations coming into this one. After a myriad of careful listens I've come to the conclusion that this is almost, if not AS good as its predecessor. Understandably it should be, as they were written at the same time. But it is this fact that truly amazes me; that they were able create so much great material in such a short time. It would also be true that this album doesn't deviate much from its predecessor in terms of style and sound, with strong vocals, a unique guitar tone, and great use of brass, and a number of other instruments for that matter, all of which play some energy-filled, yet beautiful melodies.

The opening track 'East Coast Racer' is probably the highlight of the album, and perhaps of their whole career. It flawlessly combines their more energetic side with pure beauty. The first half is an example of the fun, energetic band, which is filled with edgy guitar, fast-paced and dynamic drumming, and solid bass lines. But amidst all the chaos, they still meticulously craft some appealing melodies. The second half then, of course, showcases the more serene, atmospheric side of the band, with floating brass work for a dramatic conclusion, which ends with the wonderful reprise of the last part of 'Summoned By Bells,' a highlight of their previous album.

The following song, 'Swan Hunter' is also beautiful in its own right. The instrumentation along with Longdon's vocals gives it a rather nostalgic feeling, something that is well represented in most of Big Big Train's work. The ending few minutes is another gorgeous brass extravaganza that they so flawlessly seem to execute.

'Worked Out' is a fun song with some very catchy vocal lines and even stronger instrumental work. Diverse in its structure and instrument use, this is just a classic BBT track.

'Leopards' is a rather short song clocking in at just under four minutes. I love the fun nature of it, especially contrasted against the more dramatic strings work. Above all, the vocals are catchy as anything. Maybe it's not a full on prog tune, but it's a very enjoyable listen.

'Keeper of the Abby's' is yet another classic Big Big Train sounding tune. At this point, to avoid sounding like a broken record, I will just say everything I've already said also pertains to this one as well. The highlight for me is the upbeat and energetic middle section.

'The Permanent Way' showcases some great piano work that was slightly less represented in the previous album. The piano work, along with the reprises of 'Hedgerow,' and 'The First Rebreather' from EE1 give this a conclusive feel, though that is probably best fit for the final song.

'Curator of Butterflies' is the true closing song, and an appropriate one at that. Dramatic in its nature, this one has some very warm, beautiful, and appealing melodies, especially in the vocals and later guitar. The strings and piano also lay down a solid dramatic atmosphere, all of which culminate into an adventurous conclusion to a phenomenal album.

It should be evident from what I've said that this is truly a strong album from beginning to end. Beautiful, nostalgic, melancholic, energy-filled; Regardless of what superlative you want to tag the album with, it, along with its predecessor, should be in the conversation of the best albums of the modern prog era.


Mr. Mustard | 5/5 |


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