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


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

4.17 | 760 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Genesis clone? Nope. Yes copycat? No way.

Good music? No doubt.

Big Big Train's Underfall Yard has been a very pleasant surprise. Inspired by some classic prog, yet aspiring to make their own mark, the band has developed a very nice sound for this album. This album reminds me a bit of neo-prog, but without the--as some might believe unnecessary--bombast and pandering. Within that genre, it's much more Phideaux than Arena or IQ, for example.

Overall it feels fairly mellow, but underneath lies a certain intensity that really holds my interests. Big Big Train has a habit of keeping the tempo up in quieter sections, accentuated by some very nice basslines, delicate percussion, and numerous lively guitar melodies. The result is a collection of songs that keep you coming back for more, without always knowing precisely why. Throw in some occasional flute, sitar effects, and a fair helping of refreshing horn arrangements, and this makes for a very nice album in most prog collections.

The highlights for me are of course the two extended pieces (with the opener, Evening Star, deserving mention as well): Victorian Brickwork and the title track. Brickwork is a little sporadically pieced together, but certainly well-played, with the gorgeous brass sequence toward the end stealing the show. Definitely progressive in my book. They also saved plenty for the title track epic, as the intro by itself just teems with intense playing and musical creativity. Sometimes I feel it drags a bit long, but I don't know what I would cut, and the band does a nice just of kicking up the energy just when things might be starting to lose momentum.

All in all, a great effort by talented set of musicians, and a prog epic that is much more than standard prog-by-numbers to boot! It's difficult not to be pleased with Underfall Yard.

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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