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


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

4.24 | 1149 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Big Big Train - English Electric Part 1.

I only came upon this band at the release of their 2009 album "the Underfall Yard". After hearing "Master of Tides" a few times on Morow, it grew on me, and my curiosity towards this band was sparked. After seeing the ratings here, I bought the album and gave it a few spins. At first I was disappointed. A very fortunate malfunction in my brain caused me to buy their EP "Far Skies Deep Time" anyways. What an eye opener. This is by far the best EP ever made, and prompted me to go back to the Underfall Yard. This time everything fell into place, and the album is now one of my favourites.

When I heard of their upcoming release and read some reactions I immediately ordered this album. I received it last week, and it has pretty much not left my cd-player since. To me BBT biggest strength is the atmosphere they create, the song composition and the way their albums feel like a logically constructed unit. English Electric expands on these strenghts and even goes up a notch with regards to the beautiful atmosphere. This, and their previous 2 albums just breathe England, and I love it.

Now, on to the album.

1) The first rebreather (8:32). The album opens with to me the song that resembles BBT on their previous albums.This is a very strong opener, with great melodies, harmony singing and excellent guitar soloes. The structure of this song is very straightforward with a long, and very pleasant intermezzo in an otherwise almost clasically structured song. The first thing I noticed is that David Langdon is in great form, and the vocal harmonies have improved greatly (I already liked them before). The amount of instruments (appropriately) used in just this song is vast, and it all adds to the great feel this band creates.

2) Uncle Jack (3:49). A banjo? well this put a smile to my face. A short, optimistic sounding song with again great vocal harmonies. . 3) Winchester from St. Giles Hall (7:16). A low tempo, again higly atmospheric song. The background vocals remind me of Clannad for some reason. At about the 3:45 mark it transforms toward a Canterbury scene sounding piece, only to then again transform into a symphonic piece.

4) Judas Unrepentant (7:18). This song is based on an upbeat riff, which is a well-timed change of pace. After about 3 minutes the song calms down abit, leading to the "weakest" 4 minutes of the album, which are still quite enjoyable nonetheless, and pave the way of the briljant second half.

5) Summoned by Bells (9:15). If I'd have to name a favourite song, It'd be Summoned by Bells. I've seen people comparing this to Tears for Fears, one of the few pop-bands I really like. I guess it is due to the piano-intro, which sort of resembles the tune from "everybody wants to rule the world" the female vocals (which are great), and the guitarwork. At about 6:40 the song changes pace and presents a very mellow tune, lead by a nice bass-riff and assisted by trumpets, and some milder guitar-soloing which, again, create such a great atmosphere.

6) Upton Heath (5:39). I guess we could call this the albums ballad. The guitar, flute and strings really work for this song. This song really evokes a feeling of nostalgia, though I cannot really put my finger on as to why that is.

7) A boy in Darkness (8:03). The bleakest song on the album without a doubt. Since I have a thing for bleakness, this is right up my alley. The violin/cello in the background really set the mood here. Once again the vocal harmonies perfect the emotional tone. The main riff rieks of despair, and the way they convey this emotion is stunning. At 3:10 a mellotron signals an uptempo piece, assisted by violins, which spawn into a great jamfest, only to return strongly to the main riff. Superb song.

8) Hedgerow (8:52). And we've come to the final song of the album. It opens with an odd, almost oriental sounding tune. This song yet again unfolds so beautifully. It sort of feels like two tunes are being intertwined throughout this song, ending with BBT's strength: beautiful vocal harmonies. A great way to close the album.

This album succeeds in every department. On top of that it excells in song structure and the general flow of the album is fantastic. No album this year has come close to this one, and I sincerely doubt any of the coming albums will top this, so I hereby nominate this my album of the year. The best news is, there will be a part 2 very soon! Is it March 2013 yet?

jverweij | 5/5 |


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