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SEAN FILKINS

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Sean Filkins biography
Sean FILKINS was born in Rochester, Kent, UK. Being closely assocaited with UK, neo-prog band LORIEN as well as UK space rock ensemble, SOMA, FILKINS is not new to the progressive scene. "War and Peace & Other Short Stories" is the first release under his own name. The music carries all the regular trademark progressive influences associated with his music. His album was released in April 2011 under F2 Records.

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War & Peace & Other Short StoriesWar & Peace & Other Short Stories
F2 Records 2011
Audio CD$19.17
$23.66 (used)
War & Peace & Other Short Stories by Filkins, Sean (2011-06-28)War & Peace & Other Short Stories by Filkins, Sean (2011-06-28)
F2 Records
Audio CD$60.45

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4.08 | 366 ratings
War And Peace & Other Short Stories
2011

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 War And Peace & Other Short Stories by FILKINS, SEAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.08 | 366 ratings

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War And Peace & Other Short Stories
Sean Filkins Crossover Prog

Review by Trollheart

4 stars Most of you will probably know of this man. He was with Big Big Train for six years, but only featured on two of their albums, 2009's incredible The Underfall Yard being released after his departure. This is, to date, his only solo album but on the strength of what's here I'd be willing to lay down serious money it is not his last. Working with friends and fellow musicians Lee Abrahams from Galahad, John Mitchell from Arena and It Bites, Dave Meros and Gary Chandler, Filkins has come up here with an album that will, in fairness, take some beating when he gets around to writing a follow-up.

In typically English eccentric style (presaging the second track indeed) the album opens with "Are you sitting comfortably?", which is basically an organ rendition of "Jerusalem" played against the sounds of someone making a cup of tea and settling down. The perfect way to set the scene I guess, and it quickly moves into the first "proper" track, which as I mentioned above is called "The English eccentric". It kicks off with a big squealy keyboard intro with hammering drums and then settles down into a song that reminds me of very early Supertramp, especially the Indelibly Stamped album. It's not my favourite on the album to be honest, and made me reserve judgement until I got past it, but on repeated listenings I've come to quite like it. Still, everything else on the album was a hit with me first time around, so that says something in itself. Filkins' voice will be familiar to anyone who's heard Gathering speed or The Difference Machine; strong, clear with a definite English tinge that marks him as from the same vocal school as the likes of Gabriel and Hammill, but he has his own style and identity.

Most of the keyboard parts are played by John Sammes, who also helped flesh out some of the musical ideas Filkins presented him with, but the man whose name the album bears is no slouch when it comes to playing instruments either, adding guitars, blues harp, even didgeridoo at one point! "The English eccentric" (surely a coincidence that BBT's last two albums were called English Electric? Wink) is a long enough song, about eight and a half minutes, but that pales when compared to "Prisoner of conscience", which is divided into two parts and runs to an immense thirty minutes between them. Yeah, I said thirty. Part one, which is subtitled "The soldier", begins with effects: a man walking through a forest, birds singing, then the sound of a jet aircraft flying overhead. Some dark synth and flute merge with a fast guitar, almost Classical guitar with what also sounds like sitar to create a very eastern feel as the soldier awakes in a hospital, voices mentioning "Oh good, he's coming around". Mind you, it's almost four minutes into the track before that happens. Then we're off on some very Yes-style guitar as Filkins confirms he has amnesia: "Please don't ask me who I am/ As I for one just don't understand."

The Yes comparisons grow even stronger when a lush keyboard backs him and he really channels Anderson as he moans "I'm haunted by the ghosts / Of all the innocents/ That I betrayed along the way." Cue a flurry of keyboard madness taking us into the seventh minute with bombastic drumming from Meros. It's hard to figure out precisely what this song is about, but I feel it's the tale of a soldier, possibly a pilot shot down over the country he was about to bomb, recovering from his wounds after being taken care of by the very people he had intended to destroy, and realising the country (unnamed) is a beautiful place he had never dreamed of it being before. From being just a target it has become so much more, and he is now questioning his orders, his career, the very reasons for whatever war he is engaged in. That's what I get from it anyway. Some superb guitar playing fleshes part one out, with a grinding fret workout that just leaves me stunned, Filkins executing a buildup vocal that rises to a tortured crescendo as he realises "I don't want this/ I don't need this/ I can't have this"...

Suddenly, in the twelfth minute, the unnerving, eerie sound of the voices of all the people he has killed in his role as pilot (let's say) come crashing like waves against the cliffs of his head and he yells out, unable to face the truth they batter him with. The music gets heavier and more frenetic as he wrestles with this knowledge, that he may have - probably has - killed so many innocents whose names he did not even know. Everything flows then back into the guitar motif that runs through this part and into a soaring solo that puts me in mind of John Mitchell, though whiel he does play on the album details on who plays what and where are almost impossible to come by. A Spanish Flamenco style passage then gets underway as part one moves towards its conclusion, sliding into another emotional guitar solo, some lovely bright piano and pealing bells with choral voices before it ends on a very Gilmouresque solo, taking us into part two.

"The Ordinary Man" opens then on soft organ, a much gentler vocal which again betrays traces of Anderson, bringing in some really nice vocal harmonies too. A rippling keyboard passage takes the third minute with choral vocals in attendance, into the fourth with a swaying rock rhythm bringing in Genesis influences, then another extended keyboard romp takes the tune, almost an Irish reel at times. In the sixth it changes to a rolling soft piano and oddly enough reminds me of The Beautiful South on Blue is the colour, then back to Yes for some really superb vocal harmonies and another rising guitar solo as we move into the eighth minute. The triumphant resolution of the song (both parts) is really moving and attended by one more expressive guitar solo before we exit.

And yet, this massive epic is not the standout. That's to come, and is up next, in the slightly shorter but somehow even better "Epitaph for a mariner", which opens on Abigail Filkins singing the old hymn "Eternal father, strong to save" with only church organ as accompaniment. The piece is broken into five sections, the first of which, "Sailor's hymn", has just been sung, the second, "Siren's song" is characterised by a long piano and synth instrumental with effects and moaning guitars and a rising, mournful chant from Abigail Filkins that follows the music perfectly and does indeed make her sound like a siren luring sailors to their doom. Who could not follow that seductive voice? A sort of electronica piece next takes over, as the music gets faster and more urgent, guitar breaking through with a powerful voice, percussion hammering away like the wind battering a ship at sea.

In the middle of this compelling instrumental we suddenly hear a voice muttering about his wife and child, and part three, "Maelstrom" has begun, as a sailor, who has chosen to stay on land while his wife gives birth, worries about his comrades fighting for their lives on the harsh seas, as he accepts "The sea's no friend to man." We're now almost halfway through the piece and things begin to calm down (calmer seas?) as "Ode to William Pull" brings back in Filkins' vocal against a gentle, pastoral background of organ and guitar. A dreamy, drifting keyboard line takes the song as the vocal swells then descends and we pass into part five, "Epitaph", the vocal continuing on as the keyboards get harder and more insistent, the piece building towards its climax now with guitar sailing in majestically, joining the measured drumbeats of Meros. The vocal fades out in the seventeenth minute, its work done, and a superb guitar and keyboard ending brings this amazing epic to its conclusion, leaving me breathless. A slow passage on the piano sets the final seal on the song.

And yet there's one more track to go before the album wraps up. It's pretty amazing to think that in reality we've only had four actual tracks so far; it sounds like about ten, but the closer is a short (in comparison) little gentle ballad, as "Learn how to learn" is about as simple as they come. And yet it carries the full authority of what we have come to see as Sean Filkins' worldview in its seven-minute-plus length. Another very Yes-like song, it rides on gentle piano and acoustic guitar with a soft vocal, as if Filkins is reinforcing the lessons he has learned, and in turn passed on to us, through the run of this wonderful debut album.

To think I might never have heard this album! I should have been alerted to how good it is by the fact that it was placed high on this website's top albums for 2011, but so often these lists turn out to be just one person's choice and don't chime with what I believe are the pick of the bunch. Here though I definitely have to agree with them. As I said, I did not even know who Sean Filkins was, and had to check his pedigree to get an idea of what kind of music (I didn't even know it was prog) I might be listening to.

Now, all I can do is hope that he doesn't leave it too long before gracing us with his next composition. I'll be waiting.

 War And Peace & Other Short Stories by FILKINS, SEAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.08 | 366 ratings

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War And Peace & Other Short Stories
Sean Filkins Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Sean Filkins was the lead singer of Big Big Train until the great David Longdon replaced him for the exceptional The Underfall Yard. This, his debut solo album, was released in 2011, and, I must admit, it passed me by completely at the time. Why, I know not.

That is, until one day spent perusing the top albums of that year on Prog Archives earlier this year whilst recuperating from an operation, I read the reviews, especially that of my old friend Tszirmay, and thought......this sounds just like the sort of stuff I would like.

And do I. What an album. Quintessentially English in its entire outlook and output, War And Peace & Other Short Stories captures a unique talent. Yes, in the Are You Sitting Comfortably intro piece, one could point to Floydian bits. In the two epic tracks entitled Prisoner Of Conscience you could point to a fair bit of Beard in part one, and certainly Anderson heavy Yes in part two. However, these are merely influences, because at the heart of this is Filkins as a multi instrumentalist, a man with a huge vocal range, from as heavy as it comes to achingly poetical. Further, his piano playing, especially, is as heartfelt as any classical exponent.

Passages range from the blistering, to the bombastic, to some of the most gorgeous music I have had the pleasure of listening to in many years. From the first moment I put this on, I knew it would become a lasting favourite. The English Eccentric, the first song proper, is perhaps about the best self description I have seen written by an artist, and tells a story of a man whose time is no longer here, and the the contrast between thundering sound and wistful, mournful, acoustic rather accurately reflects a life lost though conflict.

The epic Prisoner.....is right at the heart of the album, and is in two distinct phases, as mentioned above. The guitar burst at the close of part one is as 'eavy as anything you will ever hear from any so-called heavy metal band, before we then have the most dreamy, and beautifully sung, intro of part two, yet the two segue seamlessly. Quite delicious. During the varying movements, attention is never, ever, lost. The denouement brings all of these varying moods together in a huge wall of sound that deserves to shake the room of any discerning progger.

Even this, though, pales into insignificance when set against the truly exceptional Epitaph For A Mariner, twenty one minutes of the most incredible rock music I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Opening with the traditional Sailor's Hymn, beautifully sung by Abigail Filkins, to the accompaniment of a mournful organ, the track develops into quite the most wonderful piece. Abigail has a gorgeous voice, and her mournful, soulful, wail is the passage to all that follows.

I said at the commencement of the review proper that this was a quintessential English album. Well, this track, more than any other, embodies that spirit, because what could be more English than a hymn, Ode, and Epitaph to fallen seafarers, the bravest of the brave, who risk their lives daily, and, as with our hero here, often fall in the harsh environment they choose to try to tame? "But the sea's no friend to man". Written in three absolutely clear, and distinct, movements, this track embodies all that is good about a piece of music which, again, never allows the listener to drift and lose focus. The Epitaph passage gives full rein to the bombast that Filkins does equally as well as the heavy and restrained. The huge sound created gives way to a couple of minutes of lovely piano at the end, allowing the listener to reflect and, yes, grieve.

Closer, Learn How To Learn, is a fitting climax, nowhere near as intense as what came before (it would be, in truth, impossible). It has been compared by other reviewers to Drama era Yes or Flower Kings. It is, I think, far closer to the finest that the latter have produced, and brings us down from the intensity that came before in a fashion that still demands our full attention, very much in the fashion of the best of the Swedish greats. The guitar solo midway through really is gorgeous, and we are then taken down....down......down..... To a wall of vocals and gentle acoustics which re-asserts the fundamental unique Englishness of Filkins, as a fitting end to a fundamentally unique piece of work.

So, to a rating. Looking at my 2011 new album purchases reviewed, I see that this was the year I raved about the Edison's Children debut, and the wonderfully beautiful Introitus album, Elements. Well, this one is as good as these two gems. This is an album which is so representative of the best of modern progressive rock. Taking influences, and moulding them into a series of stories and soundscapes which are essentially 21st century. In other words, an album which moves the genre forward.

It is a masterpiece, so gets that rating. I, for one, cannot wait for the follow up.

For those of you, like me, who missed it at the time, this album comes very highly recommended.

 War And Peace & Other Short Stories by FILKINS, SEAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.08 | 366 ratings

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War And Peace & Other Short Stories
Sean Filkins Crossover Prog

Review by yvonne

5 stars After hearing just one track from this album on a progressive rock radio show, Prisoner of Conscience part 2: The Ordinary Man, I immediately knew I had to have this album. And hearing more tracks after that first one, like English Eccentric which has a lot more power to it than the other tracks on the album, Epitaph for a Mariner that is a true epic, or Learn how to Learn which is intriguing with a slightly eastern sounding combination of sitar and tabla drums, only confirmed it. Not only did this have amazing melodies, some fantastic guitar solo's and killer key parts, it also has, in Prisoner of Conscience especially, about the most intriguing, deepest meaningful lyrics I've ever heard. To me this is pure, heartfelt poetry. I am absolutely in love.
 War And Peace & Other Short Stories by FILKINS, SEAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.08 | 366 ratings

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War And Peace & Other Short Stories
Sean Filkins Crossover Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Here we have a combination of Neo-Prog bombast and earnest acoustic-led passages. Sean Filkins has a pleasant, grandfatherly voice that doesn't come expected atop the Neo-Prog style (I don't mean that to insinuate elderliness- only a warm eagerness to tell stories). Where he shines is in the shorter tracks, as the highlights here are "The English Eccentric" and "Learn How to Learn."

"Are You Sitting Comfortably?" Somewhat. But I'll take coffee and not tea, thanks.

"The English Eccentric" Wild synthesizer and a thundering rhythm section billows through, settling into an upbeat acoustic rock song. The refrain is catchy enough, and the acoustic guitar solo is lovely touch, and is a stark contrast to the electric one that concludes the piece. This is a fun, stimulating song that is easy to just enjoy, and is my favorite on the album.

"Prisoner of Conscience, Part 1: The Soldier" Opening with the sound of war, the instrumentation begins with a low drone and lonely flute. What follows is an unexpected peppering of Indian instrumentation- the sound of a bazaar in Bombay rather than that of an English battlefield. Next in the queue is lighthearted acoustic guitar and bright singing. Herein lies my main criticism: There are stylistic changes that don't seem to make sense in the context of a single song. The organ solo drives the piece back into symphonic splendor, and the lead guitar that soon follows does not disappoint. The vocal passages at times remind one of Yes, while the instrumentation sits comfortably (ha!) in the neighborhood of Spock's Beard.

"Prisoner of Conscience, Part 2: The Ordinary Man" Coming right off the tail of the previous piece, this second part begins with a light vocal passage with a simple bass progression. This particular song is oozing with early Marillion.

"Epitaph for a Mariner" You'll think you're in church with the beginning this one: Pipe organ straight from a hymnal and an airy feminine voice. Expect quite a bit of synthesizer lead and repetition. I don't think the use of the snare complements the music. This lengthy song just doesn't capture me like a long tune should; I find myself looking at the clock. That isn't to say that the artist's instrumental prowess isn't on full display here (it is), but the composition itself just seems to carry on for the sake of carrying on.

"Learn How to Learn" A pastoral waltz with acoustic guitar, flute, and tranquil vocals, the final uplifting song is bathed in the nectar of The Flower Kings.

 War And Peace & Other Short Stories by FILKINS, SEAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.08 | 366 ratings

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War And Peace & Other Short Stories
Sean Filkins Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Prior this his debut solo album Sean had made a name for himself with both Big Big Train and Lorien, and so I approached this with some interest. There are also a large number of guest musicians involved, including Gary Chandler (Jadis), Dave Meros (Spock's Beard), John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost) and Lee Abraham (Galahad) so given that I also like all of these bands I thought that we may just be onto a winner here. It commences with the sound of a kettle boiling and then someone making a cup of tea while listening to a brass band playing "Jerusalem" on the radio. Yes, it's all very English in the extreme but I don't get it. My initial reaction was that Kiss did it much better at the beginning of 'Destroyer' many years earlier so why bother? But, my initial reaction soon faded as we were flung headlong into "The English Eccentric" which moves from electric to acoustic guitar as the mood and style moves here and there. Sean has a really great vocal style, and soon I was lost in the world and had almost forgiven him for the over-indulgent start to the album.

The longest song on the album is "Epitaph For A Mariner", and it starts with a church organ and a young singer singing the first verse of "For Those In Peril On The Sea". As soon as I hear that my feeling on the album took a major twist and I found myself listening intensely to what was going on. I was raised in fishing community in the West of England, where not only do our churches have the standard Harvest Festival but also Harvest of the Sea. That hymn is something I sang many times when I was younger, as it was always a major part of the service when the community asked for the trawlermen to be watched over and brought back safe. Although not many fishermen were lost at sea, it always greatly affected the town when it happened. I found myself back in my youth, feeling very English (these days I am a proud Kiwi), and feeling that I was starting to understand the album and what Sean was attempting to achieve.

Overall I feel he managed it, and the result is a prog album that is indeed very English in lots of ways, looking backwards and also forweards to the future and one that is well worth investigating. www.f2music.co.uk

 War And Peace & Other Short Stories by FILKINS, SEAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.08 | 366 ratings

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War And Peace & Other Short Stories
Sean Filkins Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars There are few affectations that get on my nerves faster than English musicians - and prog musicians in particular seem to be chronic for this - who make a big deal about how whimsically English they are. Perhaps I merely suffer from a chronic lack of patriotism, but I prefer to think that it's they who have a chronic lack of personality and seek to fill it in with an easy, prepackaged bundle of quirks which don't actually add up to much.

So, perhaps War and Peace by Sean Filkins was doomed to not impress me when Filkins decided to make a 1 minute intro track consisting solely of him tuning a radio to some patriotic music and making himself a cup of tea. (That's another thing I can't stand: excessive fetishisation of tea. It's a drink. It's a sodding drink and it isn't even that good of one.) The first proper track, the English Eccentric, reveals that Filkins isn't actually that eccentric after all: what's on offer here consists of a rather bombastic style of prog consisting of most of the obvious influences from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, with occasional harder-edged influences creeping in at the corners with the guitar work. The rest of the album proceeds in a similar vein. As far as solo orgies of multi-instrumentalist tootling go, it's technically adept and shows off Filkins' skills nicely but doesn't quite manage to have anything interesting to say or to connect on an emotional level except to irritate and annoy.

 War And Peace & Other Short Stories by FILKINS, SEAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.08 | 366 ratings

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War And Peace & Other Short Stories
Sean Filkins Crossover Prog

Review by Driver

4 stars I can definitely hear some sounds of Big Big Train's "Gathering Speed" here but I reckon that probably owes a lot to the fact that Sean Filkins took the microphone on that album for the masters of prog from Bournemouth. For this one, his first solo album, Sean Filkins (with a little help from his friends) has really nailed it here. I've played the album several times since I bought it on Sean's website and while "Epitaph for a Mariner" is the centrepiece, its an album that I play in its entirety from start to finish. I don't pick and choose individual tracks like I would with some other albums. I know I'll keep returning to this album repeatedly in the years to come. Congrats Sean, hope you follow "War and Peace and Other Short Stories" with something equally as rich and pleasing.
 War And Peace & Other Short Stories by FILKINS, SEAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.08 | 366 ratings

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War And Peace & Other Short Stories
Sean Filkins Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Sean Filkins has been drawing rave reviews and considerable praise lately which is odd since he is no newcomer by any stretch, having been involved with Big Big Train (lead vocalist up to The Difference Machine) , neo-prog outfit Lorien as well as spacemen Soma. He has a unique voice that is immediately identifiable, powerful yet good-natured. I actually regretted his BBT replacement with Phil Collins-clone David Longdon, who was recruited for 'the Underfall Yard' sessions. But I guess it took a well-crafted solo album, aided and abetted by a bevy of fellow musicians who respect his talents to really enter the elite. The man knows how to be playfully inventive, beginning with a brief overture that nods and winks at an old IQ title ('Are You Sitting Comfortably?' and then tossing in some weird radio static that features Jerusalem, that fabled English church standard made famous by Vangelis, Jeff Beck and ELP. ' The English Eccentric' is a perfect introduction, coming across like a heavier version of the similarly gifted songwriters Steve Thorne and Guy Manning, seasoned with some grandiose arrangements that veer closer to the Tangent or even the Flower Kings. I find it interesting when some complain of too much fat (prog is like good Alberta beef, you need a little fat to provide flavor) or flaws that serve only to de- sterilize a genre that can easily fall prey to formula. Let us not forget that this is a solo album and as such is way more of a personal musical statement than a group effort.

This is a fine recording that incorporates a wide variety of interesting modules such as the sitar spirals at the onset of the massive 2 part epic Prisoner of Conscience or the Jon Andersonisms of the beginning of Part 2 that is like a demo version of the mythical The Friends of Mr.Cairo (Jon & Vangelis). There are some highly virtuosic performances here, on assorted guitars and bass courtesy of Lee Abraham (Galahad) and Arena's John Mitchell on lead guitar. Anything that has the word 'Epitaph' scares the 'bejesus' out of me, as if anything would dare to come close to the King Crimson masterpiece, arguably my all-time favorite piece of music. Not to worry but close as the whopping nearly 21 minute behemoth 'Epitaph for A Mariner' is a colossal composition of impeccable lineage , a soothing siren wail (Abigail Filkins, I presume) that sets a comfortable numbness, sizzling synth flights that sear the supersymphonic backbone and some truly beatific vocals from the big, big conductor himself. When faced with the challenges of such a huge piece of music, dynamic continuity and intelligent spacing is primordial. This comp has that demeanor in spades. Beautiful timeless music mercifully crested with a gripping slide guitar solo. As mentioned by some PA colleagues, this track alone is worth the price of admission, no refund policy needed. The piano fadeout is heartrendingly evocative.

'Learn How to Learn' is a fitting finale and I am perhaps the first to mention this but there is a definite undercurrent of Yes influence in Sean's singing and lyricism that seeks not to plagiarize but to provide a sense of immortality which the Squireboys have not revisited since 'Drama'. All the praise and galactic asteroids are entirely deserved. And then some''

5 Leo Tolstoys

 War And Peace & Other Short Stories by FILKINS, SEAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.08 | 366 ratings

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War And Peace & Other Short Stories
Sean Filkins Crossover Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

5 stars I wonder what this tune in the background of Are You Sitting Comfortably? can it be anthem of some kind (or rather something less prominent, but England related, perhaps wartime brass song?), but don't tell me. I could have looked it up anyway, but wanted to find out by myself.

But nope, don't expect me to understand the story yet. It's my 6th listen or so and it will take some more listens, but that's the point - the album is as good as the first one (actually even better, I am starting to appreciate subtle elements in the music, that's always a good sign).

So the funny thing (damn ironic too if you ask me) is that I never actually liked Sean's performance in Big Big Train that much. You can say that I liked the vocals, but I didn't like the music. However I consider "Underfall" as a pinnacle in their discography and "War and Peace" reminds me it a lot (at least some moments, very strong on The English Eccentric, whose often repeated lyrics line "'round his eyes" was a bit annoying to me at first, but then I began to like it more). Then comes tricky part - first, let's say one quarter of Prisoner of Conscience, Part 1: The Soldier, with its second quarter serving as a playground for Sean Filkins voice, clearly focusing on it, which is not a bad thing - as I said, he is proficient singer.

The music and melody ensues, but not just this, also half complex (my favourite kind - graduating type), half melodic music, which can be called third quarter. A lot of rocky parts here, which is fine. The last quarter is therefore ending (I suspect typical Prog epic pattern here), but ends surprisingly (at first I expected repeating of the song's motif).

Prisoner of Conscience, Part 2: The Ordinary Man starts differently, after the cataclysmic event, it emerges as quietly as possible, but then blooms into The Song. It's a fine one as well.

Epitaph For a Mariner is a bit weaker, again there is first quarter of something that I'll, for a lack of better word (OK I admit I have a better word and this is intentional) call ambience. Then it starts to moves slowly (the best metaphor would be probably an avalanche one) and ends even more epically than Part 1.

It probably won't be much of a surprise that Learn How to Learn again - starts quite quietly and ends on a high note, before ultimately ending quietly again (trait common to last two songs here, other three ends drastically).

On a related note, title of this song is also something you can call "story of my life", all my life I've been trying to learn how to learn, but always failed. The song probably have something else in mind, but this familiarity is also important for me.

All in all, one of the best albums of this year. There are flaws, but flawless album doesn't exist after all. I hope it's not subconsciousness hypnosis and I haven't put "rose coloured glasses" from the first song's lyrics on (not counting intro as a "song").

 War And Peace & Other Short Stories by FILKINS, SEAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.08 | 366 ratings

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War And Peace & Other Short Stories
Sean Filkins Crossover Prog

Review by Prog Pete

5 stars As vulpino stated, this is the first time i have ever written a review and felt compelled to after seeing some of the low star ratings for this CD. Which in my opinion is a Progressive Rock Gem and one that should be in everybody's Progressive Rock album collection.

Sean Filkins has created a fantastic album that covers many genres with a mixture of vast Symphonic pieces, world and folk music and out and out Heavy Rock, and with the help of some excellent musicians from Prog world (Dave Meros, John Mitchell, Lee Abraham, Darren Newitt), he has managed to put all these ideas together tp create six pieces of music that really make you sit up and listen. From the quirky "Are you sittting comfortably" tp start, which leads into the energetic English Eccentric, Filkins sends us on a spiralling musical journey, producing many musical highs, as in the ever expanding choruses of Prisoner Of Conscience The Soldier, to the instrumental finale of Epitaph.

The lyrics are also very meaningful, very poetic at times and help create the picture the Filkins describes. " A sardonic toast to the victims of the funeral pyre. The costly toll of love and life exchanged for blood and fire". All the lyrics are in the excellent booklet (created by Paul Tippet, artwork for It Bites amonst others) that has been produced with the CD and I found myselfreading them even when the CD had finished. This is one of those albums that deserves repeated listening from start to finish and the I listen the more I hear, as production from Lee Abraham and Filkins is top notch. This is without a doubt my album of 2011. Filkins has made a very bold statement for his first solo effort and I look forward to more from him in the following years to come. Awesome Stuff

Thanks to chris s for the artist addition. and to Snow Dog for the last updates

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