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Big Big Train - A Stone's Throw from the Line CD (album) cover


Big Big Train

Crossover Prog

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4 stars Excellent, but very close to the studio versions.

This album is very high quality. Not only are the performances excellent, but these are among the very best of Big Big Trains' compositions. However, I have a hard time giving this five stars, because the songs are played so close to the studio versions. Only Nick D'Virgilio's excellent drum solo is really new. Ok, a few of the guitar solos are played a bit differently, and Rachel Hall plays violin here, so that adds a slightly different sound to select parts of the album. But on the whole, this plays is pretty straight. Given how talented the band is, I would have liked to see them try and interpret their own music a bit differently. Perhaps extend some of the pieces, or truncate/medley them, or add new parts, or sing parts without instrumentation, etc. This wouldn't need to happen on every track - even if they just mashed up a couple, so one could say "but you really got to hear this live version - its so different". Alas, such is not the case. What we have here is excellent performances of essentially the studio versions. An enjoyable collection, but not quite five stars on account of creativity. I give this album 8.8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to high 4 PA stars.

Report this review (#1743310)
Posted Thursday, July 13, 2017 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. At this point in the life of BIG BIG TRAIN they are an eight piece band as seen on the studio album "Folklore" released the same year as this live release. Actually they released two live albums in 2016 with five common songs but this is the longer release, a two disc affair recorded at King's Place in London August 14-16 2015. I must admit I have kind of lost interest in this band being a fan of their 2007-2013 period where they released 4 albums but after that I'm just having trouble appreciating their music. Give them credit though they have become fairly successful in the Prog world with their folky, GENESIS-like sound. Not like "Wind And Wuthering", not that ambient and folky as these guys can let it rip when they want to.

I had a peek at their 2021 release and see that they are down to a 4 piece but surprised that BEARDFISH's Rikard Sjoblom and SPOCK'S BEARD Nick D'virgilio are still full time members. Some nice pictures of this 8 piece band in the liner notes on stage arms wrapped around each other smiling away at the end of the show. There are five horn players listed as guests here and in the liner notes the band thanks Tim Bowness at Burning Shed. One thing I'm thankful for is that 9 of the 12 tracks are from my favourite period of the band. I really don't like "Wassail" or the opener to the proceedings "Make Some Noise" but the rest is pretty good. I am hard on double albums considering that consistent albums are my thing and doubles are rarely that. Still fans of the band will no doubt be rating this one a lot higher than I have. Lots of highs here, it was good to hear them once again.

Report this review (#2632045)
Posted Monday, November 8, 2021 | Review Permalink

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