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


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

4.21 | 1097 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars Good but could have been great

After reading all the ravishing reviews about this band and album decided to pay a couple of bucks in a well- known site and download it, won't say that wasted my money, because the English Electric (Part One) has outstanding individual performances, a good sound and a few interesting passages, but overall I find it generic, lack of personality and extremely boring.

YES vocal references and some GENESIS influenced passages are not enough to save this album from oblivion, let's be honest, I can't find a single memorable song. So, in my opinion the problem is not in the sound (which is high quality), virtuosity of the musicians (can't be denied), but in the tedious Alternative/Indie/Crossover/Prog related compositions, that bored me after a few minutes.

The album is opened by The First Rebreather and the first thing I notice is the vocals, being that seem like a blend of Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and Fish (Not bad at all) and then at the mark of 1:29, a passage that reminds me too much of Los Endos. But to be honest I like the track, it has brilliance, strength and versatility, even though that the word originality is not in their dictionary. The best song of the album, only weakened by that Gabrielish flute passage that sounds nothing like Peter Gabriel's flute.

After a promising opener, I was starting to sing that all the praises were justified, but reality hit me hard when I listened Uncle Jack, some sort of comedy relief in the style of ELP songs like The Sheriff & Jeremy Bender, but without the freshness and audacity of the famous power trio, and to make it worst, the fantastic vocal work of The First Rebreather isn't remotely repeated here?Well played but absolutely forgettable.

Winchester From St Giles' Hill is a pretty musical piece but absolutely anodyne, the intentions are good, the piano passages are delightful, but the composition is absolutely tame and predictable, sorry, but I fell asleep for a couple of seconds when listening this song the first time. Sometimes a beautiful tune is not enough.

Judas Unrepentant intro takes me back to the late 70's when Rick Wakeman was experimenting with new synths and the infamous Birotron, which was great in albums like Criminal Record, but absolutely dated today. At least in the vocal parts they give signs of life and seem to find an own sound?..Well, until they start with the gabrielish flute and the late Genesis Mellotron Choirs.

Summoned By Bells is a song of contrasts, the first five minutes are really repetitive and boring in the style of Phil Collins, but suddenly they allow themselves create one of the most brilliant moments in the album, with jazzy leanings and powerful guitar, drums and keys interplay, but when they are sounding great, fall again into some tedious Kenny G like ending section that really turns me down. Just when they dared to be ambitious and vibrant, ruined it all with a depressive closing section, and to make it worst is followed by another forgettable track as Upton Heath that works as a Valium (Please guys stop using sections so reminiscent of Los Endos & Squonk, especially when so watered).

A Boy In Darkness is another uneven song, the first couple of minutes are absolutely soporiferous , but when I was ready to press the skip button, the song changed dramatically, at last they dared to unleash themselves, here we can listen everything, from heavy guitar solos to Ian Anderson / Thijs Van Leer influenced flutes, dramatic violin and some first class Psyche/Folk Prog that really impressed me, simply frantic and vibrant, this is what this guys need to do.

The album is closed by Hedgerow, another exiting song that combines the na´ve sound of 60's British Invasion, Psychedelic touches and excellent vocal work, seems as they reserved the best for the end.

Well, now comes the rating part that I hate so much. Until the fifth minute of Summoned By Bells I was decided to give English Electric (Part One) two weak stars, butv then everything changed, they left the safe play and took risks, ending the album in a very high level. It's a pity I have to go with only 3 stars, because this release has some impressive music, but it's so uneven that can't go higher.}

I'm 100% sure that if this guys dare to take risks, they are able to give us a couple of essential masterpieces, but we'll have to wait and have faith..The skills are there, what they need is the decision.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 3/5 |


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