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


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

4.21 | 1113 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Hurray, Phil Collins rides again - more energically than ever!

Joking apart, this is yet another enjoyable BBT collection, very much in the vein of its great predecessor, the UNDERFALL YARD. The ingredients are the same. Most of the music is expertly performed and full of yearning. The band seem to mourn the passing of an Old England in which "heavy industry" still counted for something. They denounce some of the social cruelties of that same Old England; they express longing for the landscapes and cities of their youth, and now they've reached middle age, they feel great sadness, since what's left of those landscapes will soon leave these men behind...

That, at least, is the impression I get from ENGLISH ELECTRIC (PART ONE). The great question is, of course, if Part Two will be different in mood. Until we find out (at the time of writing, the wait can't be long any more) we may ask ourselves to what extent Big Big Train achieve their musical ambitions. In my opinion, the first six tracks of this album are gripping from start to finish (which makes for a first-rate 42-minute album, just as inspiring as all those classics you remember from the 1970s), but thereafter the quality of the music rapidly deteriorates: on "A Boy in Darkness" David Longdon's voice really started to grate (OK, I know it's not MEANT to be an upbeat track, but still...) and during "Hedgerow" (a pointless, over-long singalong) I couldn't wait to switch the album off.

I was glad we were offered some wonderfully exciting keyboard solos from the great Andy Tillison this time. I only wish Dave Gregory were given more chances to shine on electric guitar! Whenever Gregory does appear, my heart leaps half a mile. FINAL VERDICT: Strongly recommended, but not what I'd call a flawless masterpiece.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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