Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gathering Big Big Fans, 1 Jan 2011
By 
Jim (South Devon) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gathering Speed (Audio CD)
Looking back I feel that BBT really hit their stride in terms of establishing their unique sound with The Difference Machine (2007), an evolution that continued splendidly on The Underfall Yard in 2009, and which was impressively consolidated on 2010's excellent EP Far Skies Deep Time.

So if The Difference Machine marked a sort of turning point in the band's musical journey, not to mention public profile, what is to be made of their somewhat more obscure prior offerings? Gathering Speed, originally released in 2004, was the band's 4th album.

An excellent album in many ways, significant influences are nevertheless apparent. To me it is their `Steve Hackett album', replete with Hackettisms such as ebowed lead guitar and rippling acoustic guitar arpeggios backed with soaring keyboard sounds. (By way of contrast, I'm tempted to loosely characterise the reworked version of `English Boy Wonders' as BBT's `XTC album'). This is not to suggest that the music is overly derivative, but you can appreciate where they are coming from. Indeed, those exploring the back catalogue from a vantage point of the more recent releases will find much that is familiar on Gathering Speed, both in terms of songwriting and overall feel.

One defining characteristic of BBT's music is a melancholy outlook that is perhaps inevitable with the subject of their songwriting, which has a tendency to focus on the past. The songs are often heavily suffused with a sense of loss, evoking people, places, times that have passed into history. Sometimes the melancholy is of the nostalgic kind, an appreciation of and perhaps yearning for older ways of life. Sometimes it is unhappier, particularly when dealing with break-ups in personal relationships. The latter theme leads me to feel that BBT practically have a hidden, undeclared band member - the woman (or composite woman - there may have been more than one!) who provided the muse for the relationship anguish evident in various BBT songs throughout their career.

The production of Gathering Speed is a little rougher around the edges than more recent recordings, but hardly the worse for it. The playing is great, vocals are powerful and distinctive, and the songs mean something. This is an atmospheric, melodic, and occasionally moving collection that I return to again and again. Everyone will have their own favourite bits: personally I get carried away by the fabulous instrumental passage that takes off about 2:40 into `Sky Flying on Fire'.

The 2009 remastered reissue of Gathering Speed comes in a digipack with an 8-page fold-out booklet, with lyrics and beautiful artwork. The original edition was in a jewel case with a 4 page booklet without lyrics, a more limited selection of artwork, but with some band photos.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, tuneful and addictive, 30 Jan 2014
By 
Outastace "Outastace" (Manchester, England, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gathering Speed (Audio CD)
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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Good album, 12 May 2013
By 
R. Wilson (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gathering Speed (Audio CD)
Good prog rock in the Yes or Genesis style of music, if you like them you'll like Big Big Train!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Standard maintained!, 13 Sep 2007
This review is from: Gathering Speed (Audio CD)
The 4th 5-star album in a row. How many other bands can claim that? Tear-jerkingly, challenging beautiful music.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of art., 16 Oct 2012
This review is from: Gathering Speed (Audio CD)
Big Big Train are a UK based band from the Bournemouth area, they began life in 1989. A demo cassette tape of the band's first songs, recorded on 8-track, was released in October 1991 and was followed by a handful of live performances. The demo tape 'From the River to the Sea' was re-recorded and released as a self-financed CD in May 1992, following which BIG BIG TRAIN played some higher profile gigs in England including supports to JADIS and PENDRAGON. They have released 3 full albums prior to this new one, "Goodbye To The Age Of Steam" (1994), "English Boy Wonders" (1997), and "The Bard" (2002).
At the time of recording their previous album, "The Bard", the band decided that it would be their last but due to some critical success of that album plus the fact that it sold in reasonable quantities and also writing new material, to some extent, came quicker than usual, the seeds for a new album took root. This is the album at hand; it's the bands first concept album, set at the time of the second world war and based around a fighter pilot. The album was produced by Big Big Train and Rob Aubrey, whose credits include Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and IQ.
Sceptics, or if you like, purists of this form of progressive rock have many derogatory labels to describe it, so let's side step them and cut to the chase. This music, no matter where you are coming to it from, is progressive rock in the grand tradition of the best that the UK can offer. Europe does have many great bands but when you really break it down, the UK holds the world in the palm of its hands for sheer quality and, more importantly, vocal ability. Music of the style of Big Big Train is steeped in 40 years of inventive progressive/rock tradition that began with the Beatles. Andy, Greg & Co. create music with a lasting quality that has a large catchment fan base, it crosses many categories. There are hints of Pink Floyd, especially in the quieter vocal sections; other times there is a resemblance to Camel and more so Marillion, post Fish. The Camel sound is uncannily strong on"Sky Flying On Fire", right down to its "Moon Madness/Mirage" type of keys and Latimeresque guitar solos.
There are many quiet interludes, especially on the longest track, "Fighter Command", where a Pink Floyd style of gentle vocal harmony surfaces. This 10min track has reflective movements of acoustic guitars and keys although the bright and carefree opening with the harmonica sets the tone of this major piece with the pilot waiting and thinking about future events. This and the next track, the heartfelt "The Road Much Further On", reflect the calm moments of war where the waiting and thinking of loved ones takes centre stage. These two tracks really do bring home not only the story of the concept but obviously life in general and it's here where the full force of the harmonies and hints of chorals hit you with the inclusion of Laura Lurch. Having female vocals really does add an extra dimension to this type of rock music. As it happens, these two tracks do have stings in their tail with some tremendous wailing guitar solos.
As the album moves from the optimistic and, to some extent, carefree opening and through the reflective waiting period, it reaches, if you like, the minor chord of the story where the music becomes more complex and urgent with the aforesaid Camel influences and it's afterwards where you find strong influences of Marillion, more so in the vocals. "Pell Mell", which just about links into "Powder Monkey", both capture the final throws of the anxiety of war to perfection with powerful sections intertwining with piano and acoustic guitar interludes. The album finally winds itself up with "Gathering Speed", a sad yet uptempo track which is typical of one of those floating and haunting Pink Floyd tracks. Even though this is the sad outcome of the concept it still seems to set the spirit free and lift the mood with the magnificent guitar, keys and superb vocals. I have mentioned other bands only as reference points because the more I listened to this album, the more I realised that Big Big Train do sound like all the other bands mentioned and yet like none of them.
A brilliant album from a band I'm ashamed to say I had not heard till this album was released. Don't miss this work of art. 100% E.P.R.R.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Gathering Speed
Gathering Speed by Big Big Train (Audio CD - 2010)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews