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Big Big Train - English Electric: Full Power CD (album) cover


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

4.85 | 179 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I resisted buying this for a while. Amazon kept recommending it to me but I thought both Big Big Train and English Electric were rubbish names so I didn't want to like it. However, desperate for new music one day, I downloaded it considering that it was good value for a double album and the reviews were very positive.

The first track Make Some Noise makes an immediate impression. It's pretty catchy for prog, and could even be a popular mainstream track perhaps. I know many progheads don't like the track but I do. It's been done very, very well, and is still undeniably progressive. I cringe at one or 2 of the lyrics but love the music.

The First Rebreather follows, and even on the first listen I know this is album I am going to like. Some years later I learnt what it was actually about (it makes so much more sense now!) but nevertheless this is a great track.

I won't go through track by track but will mention some highlights.

Uncle Jack starts a bit folky for my tastes, but when it gives way to the wonderful vocal refrain about yellowhammers, lacewings et al it is just sublime. I love the piano work in Swan Hunter. Each chord is simple in itself, but the sequence is simply brilliant and inspired.

Hedgerow rules for its passionate chorus and the lovely sound effects conjuring up an outdoor walk in the summer. Then the refrain from Uncle Jack returns and everything just works.

Judas Unrepentant was a slow burner, but I love the 11/8 13/8 couplings and the quirkiness.

Winchester from St Giles Hill is perhaps my favourite track of all. It's brilliant from beginning to end. Fantastic chorus. Fantastic instrumental section. Absolutely wonderful.

The Permanent Way ties up themes from The First Rebreather and Hedgerow in a very clever way.

East Coast racer is an exciting train ride of a track, and Curator of Butterflies is beautiful and gentle yet with a quiet power.

Is this the greatest album of all time? A preposterous question of course. But only because no album is the best of all time ? it's too subjective and changeable for such a title to be meaningful. But this album nevertheless makes me ask the question. And I'm not alone. Almost universal 5-star ratings tell a significant story. This is the best gamble I have ever taken on buying an album without hearing it. I could rave about the piano playing , the guitar solos, the wonderful brass arrangements and a man who sings about things as bland as trains and mines and water meadows as if his life depends on it, but I'm no writer. This is just something you need to hear.

Rosscoe | 5/5 |


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