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English Electric, Part 1
English Electric, Part 1
Price: 10.97

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expanding in all directions, 16 Dec 2012
Big Big Train have written some great music and I have followed their progress from the brilliant Goodbye to the Age of Steam with enthusiasm. With English Electric the band have expanded in every direction. The number of core players has swollen from 3 to 6, but every song has a multitude of additional players, adding brass, strings and some excellent keyboard. We are presented some of their most progressive and complex songs, alongside some of their simplest and most beautiful tunes. I can understand the comments from some of the reviewers here - The Underfall Yard was a truly great album a real progressive rock timepiece. If you loved The Underfall Yard you'll like this album but the band did not go for the easy option and make the Underfall Yard part two, which we all wanted. There are song here which could easily sit on that album - The First Rebreather is a great prog epic in traditional format (reminiscent of early Genesis) and as good as anything I've ever heard in the genre. A touch stone for modern progressive rock and the missing Underfall Yard song. Summoned by Bells is heavily influenced by the unique sound the band discovered on the Underfall Yard and develops this further with some great brass and a wonderful lyric (it sounds like ...Big Big Train and is a close cousin of the excellent Victorian Brickwork from The Underfall Yard). Winchester From St Giles is different again, a picture postcard of a song and develops this sound further taking on a more pastoral feel (comparisons could be made with early King Crimson). The other songs explore more new ground for the band and the genre. Judas Unrepentant is very different, faster paced and explosive it tells the newspaper headline story of an unrepentant art forger. A great song (featured on the Prog magazine sampler CD) but unlike anything else on the album - so if you heard it - don't expect more of the same. Upton Heath is a beautiful and simple tune - a special place shared by lovers. While Uncle Jack is very different - (think Lindisfarne's Lady Eleanor, REM, or the Beatles). The song is the first in a trilogy of songs with lyrics inspired by singer David Longdon's Uncle Jack. A Boy in Darkness is perhaps the most complex song arrangement on the album with some virtuoso playing and heartfelt lyrics. Using stories uncle Jack told about child labour in the mines as the starting point the song considers much darker issues. The album closes with another visit to Uncle Jack's territory and a song which celebrates the English countryside from the eyes of a coal miner who spent his life underground dreaming of the hedgerow.

There hasn't been an album like this in 40 years. A great album, difficult to pigeon hole - diverse in style and subject matter, ignoring the constraints of any genre, with a multitude of great players and truly great tunes. Add to this the excellent voice of David Longdon which illuminates and adds life to every word and what more can you ask for...Part 2? - apparently due next year.


Wired To Earth
Wired To Earth
Price: 11.63

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great album, 6 May 2012
This review is from: Wired To Earth (Audio CD)
I bought this as I was so impressed with the guitar work of Dave Gregory on the Big Big Train albums. The album has a few prog references (including a cover version of Back In NYC by Genesis) but this is not prog by numbers and cannot be described by reference to old prog bands or even Dave's old band XTC. It's just great modern music. The tracks are generally long and one or two blend together (so it is proggy in that respect). However, they don't feel over extended and are always tuneful. The vocals are excellent and the guitar work even better than that. The lyrics and music are very well crafted.

So what do they sound like? The Back in NYC cover is very close to the Genesis original, and sits very well with the other songs on the album. But the vocalist does not sound like Peter Gabriel and the band do not sound like Lamb era Genesis. Thinking about it ...Back in NYC is a great song but I guess it's not a typical Genesis song. I'm not being much help am I?

Perhaps the highest recommendation is that Back in NYC (despite it's brilliance) is not the high point of the album (not even close). Check out the bands web page and videos.

If you like Big Big Train and the Underfall Yard - you will love this.
If you like Back in NYC and mid period Genesis (Trick in the Tail) - you'll really love this.

An easy 5 stars - can I give it 6?


Derwent Waters Saint
Derwent Waters Saint
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very different to Crippled Black Pheonix, 26 Dec 2010
This review is from: Derwent Waters Saint (Audio CD)
I discovered Joe from his work with post rock band CBP and didn't know what to expect when I ordered the CD.

It's very different and very good. It reminds me of Nick Drake without sounding a great deal like Drake. The mood is very Drake - not a happy album but very enjoyable.

It CBP are post rock this must be post folk.


The Wake - 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (3CD & DVD (Multimedia) Set)
The Wake - 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (3CD & DVD (Multimedia) Set)
Price: 29.26

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just a little too much info, 26 Dec 2010
I loved the original album and this remix is good but not too different. The additional music is too similar, or incomplete. I've skipped through it and probably won't play it again. The DVD is interesting but not a great quality video account.

The packing is very good and the album itself is excellent. I loved the booklet and reading the history behind the recording.

This would have been much better for me with a lot less additional material - it's over kill and detracts from what is a classic prog rock album.

Still I guess this was intended as one for the collectors.

Buy it for the original album, DVD, booklet and packing. Don't expect too much from the additional music and you won't be disappointed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 2, 2011 10:53 AM BST


Aquarius
Aquarius
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 12.81

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great but not as good as it could have been, 8 Aug 2010
This review is from: Aquarius (Audio CD)
I really like this album, but it keeps drifting in to moments of excessive theater. If you like Queen you might like this aspect of the band. I was attracted by the prog elements - and would advise you listen to the Underfall Yard by Big big train if prog is more your bag. A great album but not as good as I expected from the sample track on the prog magazine - which by the way is one of the best prog songs I've heard in years. This band has great potential and I'm sure they will appeal to many - I just hope they develop the prog element in their mix.


Seafood - Where have you been? [DVD] [2009]
Seafood - Where have you been? [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Seafood
Price: 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Rockumentory, 23 Jan 2010
The band are followed as they travel through Europe on their last tour before they split. The video contains very few full songs - instead we see back stage and in the van and snippets of the gig. The extras are video recordings for the singles and a very interesting shoot from a live radio broadcast.

I loved it! and the price is very good.


English Boy Wonders
English Boy Wonders
Offered by Big Big Train
Price: 6.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Over looked classic, 18 Oct 2008
This review is from: English Boy Wonders (Audio CD)
This album was a real find for me. I loved prog rock of the 70s but felt it had lost it's way by the late 70 , and 80's. Big Big Train brought something new to the genre mixing traditional English prog of bands like Genesis and Camel with 80's pop like XTC. Unlike prog before it the album lyrics were real and tangible - chronicling the breakdown of Greg Spawton's (lead gtr) marriage. The album has it's moments of vitriol but it's not all darkness and reflects on the shear bliss of first love and the pain and despair when this is lost. check out the free downloads at [...]

This is a real collectors item. The album has been deleted for several years and is about to be remixed with much higher profile. The remixed and remade version is very different and will only increase the value of this rare find.

my favourite album of all time.


Thud
Thud
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 29.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How could he know so much?, 18 July 2008
This review is from: Thud (Audio CD)
This CD is brilliant. The lyrics are observational and educational. His empathy for heart ache and understanding of the pain we all share is unreal. Was he dying when he wrote this? I've no idea, but the clarity of his vision is unreal.

The songs remind me a little of the solo albums by Sting (a little). He appeared to love prog rock, but this is not a prog album. The writing and musicianship is beyond question but the tune is very important here and the meaning even more so. If you want an album that you can enjoy on many levels this is for you. My favourite line, "What horrors will be common place when my hair starts to grey"... in this song he sings about how his Grandmother is horrified by the state of the world, "Things where different in my day". We've all heard our parents say it, but did we ever stop to think...what horrors will be common place when we say these words to our children.

We are not worthy. He is such a miss. Hunt down Shaming of the True if you can find it, but approach the Giraffe (band CDs) with caution - way too 80s.


Gathering Speed
Gathering Speed
Price: 16.43

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Retro prog from classic english band, 27 Jun 2008
This review is from: Gathering Speed (Audio CD)
New vocalist and new feel. This could be one of the best old school prog albums I have heard. The sound is very retro, Yes, Genesis era, but with a modern approach to production. Some great sound effects link the songs in true prog rock style and the album tells the story of the death of a fighter pilot in WW2. There are some free download samples from the bands website. This is well worth the investment, I can't recommend it strongly enough. Excellent!


Bard
Bard

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eclectic mix of prog styles with a slight touch of folk, 27 Jun 2008
This review is from: Bard (Audio CD)
This album is slightly different to other releases by the band. The main vocalist is keyboard player Tony Muller, but at least three others feature strongly. Jo Michaels adds some wonderful female vocals to give the album a pink floyd feel. On the track Black Smithing it's almost folk. The album makes a lot of historical references to the Last English King (opening track) but the songs are more about love and loss than history. Still there are some interesting references if you care to dig. Broken English is a very long track and features one of the longest (and best) guitar solos I've heard. The closing track A long Finish has everything. There are some short clips on the bands website. Definitely worth the money, never has loss and betrayal sounded so good.


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