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Big Big Train - English Boy Wonders CD (album) cover


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

3.17 | 168 ratings

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The Crow
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This second effort of the British prog-rock project Big Big Train is a worthy follow up of the good debut Goodbye to the Age of Steam but sadly it does not reach the overall quality of this album.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think they used lot of previous unreleased material and unused tunes from their past and the result is not so cohesive. They managed to avoid some mistakes like the use of dated keyboards, but not all the compositions are catchy enough to resist successive listening.

Bit Empty Skies starts the album in the right way with a funny riff and a dynamic guitar playing, which leads to the typical Big Big Train stanzas and refrain, beautiful and melancholic at the same time. Brushed Aside is more intimist and piano oriented, with very beautiful guitar solos and strings.

Albion Perfide has a rather strange beginning, but after that we can hear very good vocal melodies and a fine instrumental section which is sadly too long and repetitive. Pretty Mom is a rhythmic tune which acoustics and good vocals, nothing special.

A Giddy Thing has a frantic beginning with tons of keyboards and a good guitar riff, but it lacks some king of magic. Is not bad, but in tracks like these is where this album falls short in comparison of the previous one. Not like Out of It, one of the best tracks of the albums witch marvelous stanzas. One of the hits of English Boy Wonders in my opinion.

Cloudless and Starry and Still has a great bass line and good guitars for a tune which is more animated than the rest of the album. Just like Two Poets Meet , the most Neo-Prog track of the album and a fantastic guitar work which brings Steve Rothery to mind.

28 Years is another little acoustic song with precious lyrics and Reaching for John Rowland is just the opposite. A long and mellotron oriented song, with tons of melancholy and fine progressions. The bass gains protagonism in the instrumental section again, but at this point the albums starts to feel too long. And that's not so good.

Luckily The Shipping Forecast is also one of the best song of the album with a very good vocal interpretation from Martin Read, giving way to Right to the End of the World Tra-La, a forgettable pop song and and Fell Asleep, which has the proper mood to end this album, but not enough quality ending English Boy Wonder in a rather boring and sterile way.

Conclusion: Big Big Train failed to achieve the quality of their debut in this second album, which is too irregular and boring to be considered an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection. And that's funny because although the album sounds more like the modern Big Big Train than the previous one, is not comparable in terms of quality.

Nevertheless, if you are a fan of the band you will surely be delighted with the best parts and some truly enchanting moments that this album hides.

Best Tracks: Big Empty Skies, Out of It, Cloudless and Starry and Still and The Shipping Forecast.

My rating: **

The Crow | 2/5 |


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