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English Electric (Part One)
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English Electric (Part One)

Big Big Train
3 Sept. 2012 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 3 Sept. 2012
  • Release Date: 3 Sept. 2012
  • Label: Eer / Gep
  • Copyright: 2012 Big Big Train
  • Total Length: 58:44
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00968DEMI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,061 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Sordel TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Sept. 2012
Format: MP3 Download
It's a sign of the growing importance of Big Big Train that original members Greg Spawton & Andy Poole have been able to convince some major figures to join them to form what they now regard as the definitive line-up of the band. In the last couple of albums they have been joined by David Longdon on vocals & flute, Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard) and Dave Gregory (XTC), and the result was the huge leap forward that turned 2009's The Underfall Yard into one of the most satisfying albums of recent years (in any genre!)

English Electric is testament to the confidence that they got from the public response to The Underfall Yard. A long double album (this first volume is an hour long) to be released in two stages, this album has the sort of maturity and depth too frequently lacking in "prog" in general. None of the solos run on longer than necessary (one of the most striking is played on violin) and time-signatures show less of the A.D.D. that is symptomatic of the genre. The music has complexity and virtuosity, but never for their own sake.

Nevertheless, this IS a prog album: very like classic Genesis in feel and with hints of mellotron alongside the live strings, brass and vocal groups that ornament these deeply felt songs. "Winchester from St. Giles' Hill" strikes that typically nostalgic note ("the story in the stone and the lie of the land") but the lyrics only make apparent which is already implicit in the powerful music.

"Summoned By Bells" is another highlight (the album's nearest counterpart to the title track of The Underfall Yard) with soaring vocals and a more upbeat feel that gives way, unexpectedly, to a jazzy, laid-back passage where the brass players are allowed to stretch out a little.

I could go on & on, but I'll leave it by saying that this is one of the best things I've heard all year. If you have any interest at all in the folkier end of the prog section, it should be high on your Wish List.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By faroutsider on 8 Sept. 2012
Format: MP3 Download
English Electric Part 1 is an album that ticks all the boxes in my musical wish list: marvellous melodies (always top of my list), lush orchestrations, tight ensemble playing, sinuous basslines, virtuoso soloing, soaring vocal harmonies, light and shade, superb production values. And carefully crafted lyrics that tell a wide variety of very English tales about the countryside and the people, from art forgers to child miners, to uncle Jack's appreciation of the hedgerows. While there is a sense of Victorian nostalgia about the album, it is also very modern. There's not a wasted note anywhere - most of the songs are in the 7-9 minutes range, but only because that is what is required to tell each particular story. No needless noodling, which nearly killed progressive music forever - the immense talents of the musicians are tightly reigned in by songwriting of the highest calibre, but always given enough freedom to endow the songs with great emotional depth.

The core of the band, Andy Poole and Greg Spawton have been laying the foundations for this magnum opus for twenty years, and they have been carried to this creative peak by their recent recruitment of three additional outstanding musicians - guitarist Dave Gregory (ex-XTC), my favourite American drummer Nick D'Virgilio (ex-Spock's Beard) (Gavin Harrison just pips him as my favourite drummer), and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist extraordinaire David Longdon. They also make judicious use of strings and brass band, and some outstanding keyboard work from The Tangent's Andy Tillison.

The songwriting credits are equally shared between Spawton and Longdon.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Snow on 9 Sept. 2012
Format: MP3 Download
"Tell me do you know
The song of the hedgerow?"

So goes the first line from Hedgerow, the last song of this marvellous album by Big Big Train. An album that frequently conjours up images of good old rural England. The album has echoes of Genesis, circa "A trick of the tail" and Wind & Wuthering, on a tour of the countryside! The album deserves to be considered alongside those mighty Genesis efforts. But while Big Big train might tip their hat in that direction, this is no cloning job. The band bring a wealth of sounds and ideas with this album - new charms revealing themselves on repeated plays. And this album has been on repeated play.

The band have already released a couple of stellar albums, most notably "The Underfall Yard" and "Far skies Deep time" (some people have described the latter cd as an EP - but being over 40 minutes makes it an album in my book. Unless close to the edge etc have now become EPs?!)

The guitar intro that greets the listener on the opening track, The First Rebreather, starts the proceedings and it has that typical Big Big train sound. Interesting that there is so much in it that the 8 minutes plus song flies by. Great, uplifting chorus - "Here she comes..the sleeper wakes." Great background harmony, the effective use of strings, flute, viola. But it doesn't come across as the bandshowing off - just excellent craftsmen. The song lifts and falls throughout its duration. Nice slabs of welcome keyboards too. Excellent!

Yet the next track, Uncle Jack, I find even more enjoyable! An infectious, 3+ minute toe-tapping, slice of fun - seems to start with a banjo - great harmonies. "Uncle Jack knows - a song of the hedgerows.
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