Gathering Speed was the first Big Big Train album featuring Sean Filkins as singer that I had heard. Previously I had worked my way through the BBT back catalogue - Underfall Yard, English Electric 1 & 2 and the Far Skies EP - that featured David Longton's vocal skills (and his prowess with flute etc). David's style felt like an amalgamation of Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins and seemed to fit the band's way with melody. Listening to the same instrumentalists topped by Filkins, who sounds nothing like Longton (to me, anyway) seemed strange. A case of same musical style, different vocalist...hmmm. At first I wasn't too sure. The music was as grandiose, dramatic and engaging - with many conscious and unconscious nods to early Genesis and Yes - but I couldn't get used to Filkins' voice. Not that there was (is) anything wrong with it, just that Longton seemed a much better fit with the band. But I persevered, mainly because the tunes and musicianship and bubbling ideas we're quintessentially Big Big Train, albeit filtered through a different voice. After half a dozen plays something clicked. I began to listen to the album as a whole and not over-analyse it. And it's a cracker, the equal to their earlier stuff, with light and shade, power and gentleness in correct proportions. The music grabs you and takes you on a journey of delight with Filkins' voice acting as a narrator. Worse than BBT with Longton? No. Better? No. Just great stuff. Now what I would like to hear is the album with Longton as vocalist, just to see what qualities he can bring to a magnificent set of songs. Just an idea, lads!