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Big Big Train - Folklore CD (album) cover

FOLKLORE

Big Big Train

 

Crossover Prog

3.97 | 456 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Crow
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This is the first I hear of Big Big Train, and therefore also my first review of this band!

When I first listened this album some weeks ago I was blown away. Maybe because this good band was unknown to me till recently and it was one hell of a surprise. But after a few listens this euphoria dismissed a little, although I still think this album is pretty good. The splendid production is also remarkable, despite the loud D'Virgilio drums.

But let's talk about the songs!

The album starts with Folklore, a very appropriate title for a track which mixes wisely symphonic prog, neo-prog and folk elements. The chorus is not so good, but the rest of the song is pure enjoyment with its two splendid guitar solos, being the last answered by another catchy keyboard solo. With this first track I was aware that this band is plenty consolidated and good assembled. Every instrument has its moments and they sound is coherent and cohesive. Very good!

London Plane is a flute-introduced slow piece with beautiful lyrics about this city and an outstanding instrumental section with a lot of jazz influences, perfect for the keyboardist to show off... OK, and D'Virgilio. Along the Ridgeway is also a bit slow. I think the album needed a bit power at this point, but this track doesn't deliver. It has nevertheless fine choirs in the Spock's Beard style and another great instrumental section witch strings and another good keyboard solo.

Salisbury Giant continues the end of the previous song, and Transit of Venus Across the Sun comes with an instrumental introduction of strings and wind instruments. Beautiful and with another great solo, Genesis-reminding guitar melodies but again too slow and a bit boring. This is the verification that this album lacks rhythm, or better structure. I think the songs are good, but they are not in the right order or maybe they are too long. I don't know... But sometimes I find Folklore just dull.

Luckily Wassail comes to rescue the ship with its good vocal melodies, lyrics with roots in the nature and landscapes, powerful drums and a keyboard towards the end which reminds me to Deep Purple! And Winkie follows this pleasant path with a funny text, great bass and good rhythm. The section which starts at 3'38'' is pure magic! My favorite song of the album.

And then comes Brooklands which is not a bad song, but at this point of the album it contributes not so much to its quality apart of giving minutes to the final duration. No surprises here. Nevertheless, its central section is pretty good with more jazzy instrumentation and very good drumming. The drums are maybe a bit loud, but it's impossible to deny the quality of D'Virgilio as a drummer.

Ok, Telling the Bees... This will be short: I can't understand how this band closed this good album with such a lousy and cheesy song. Completely forgettable.

Conclusion: Folklore is a stimulating mixture of symphonic prog with jazz influences, folk tunes, neo-prog and a bit of hard rock from a consolidated band which also delivers a very good sound and production. But it fails to offer a cohesive experience because a pair of dull tracks (Salibury Giant, Transit of Venus Across the Sun, Brooklands), and fairly bad one (Telling the Bees) and an bad tune order in my opinion.

Nevertheless, its good songs (Winkie, Wassail, Folklore, London Plane...) make this album a strong recommendation for modern prog lovers with lots of classic influences, despite not being excellent.

Best songs: Folklore, London Plane, Wassail, Winkie.

My rating: ***1/2, rounded down to three stars.

The Crow | 3/5 |

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