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Big Big Train - The Underfall Yard CD (album) cover


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

4.17 | 786 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
3 stars The news that a new vocalist had joined the ranks of Big Big Train really stirred my interest. The weakness in the vocal department had made The Difference Machine hard to enjoy for me and I hoped BBT would fulfil their true potential this time.

And indeed, the vocals are much better. Or should I say more professional? Longdon's vocals aren't very different from the previous singer Filkins and share a similar Phil Collins timbre, but Longdon is more steady and dynamic. However, he still fails to inject BBT's music with the soul that was lacking from the previous album. The result is a pleasant but ultimately unexciting prog album that follows all rules of prog songwriting but forgot to add the excitement of rock 'n' roll. Really, where's the drive and emotion in this music? It's so clean and sterile. Maybe I'm biased from listening to too much RPI lately, but the emotive power I discovered in that scene really puts a perspective on an album like The Underfall Yard. The form is ok, but the substance is lacking.

It doesn't make this a bad album though. The two opening songs for example are very good. But the quality is uneven and much of the album goes to the motions without moving me for more then a few scattered sections. The drums and bass are great and the guitars add some edge to the music, but the songs disappoint for not offering the inspired drive that marked The Difference Machine, an album I prefer to this one. The 1975 Genesis vibe is simply too big for me here. Generally, as soon as the vocals start, I have to get out of the room to get me a coffee or some other distraction.

The Underfall Yard is a professional album that takes a strong start but that ultimately disappointed me. I simply don't have any nostalgia for mellowed out post-'74 sympho, but if you love A Trick of the Tail you shouldn't hesitate. So I arrive at 4 stars for the music, 2 for the vocals, 1 for passion. 2.5, rounded up for now.

Fans shouldn't worry though. This criticism will sure spur another onslaught of 5 star reviews.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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