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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 9 October 2013
Received this via Amazon from Big Big Train headquarters and it arrived within 48 hours. It was a big package and it bounced off the 'Welcome' mat with a low thud. Most Cds I receive, I skim the contents within a few minutes, but 'Full Power' is a labour of love and they really have gone to town. There are notes in here about everybody and everything. The producer has 2 pages. Each song merits at least 2 pages with explanations and photographs. I sat in my little room for most of the morning listening to each tune and digesting the inspiration, it reminded me very much of a long soak in the bath.

Each song is understood and becomes an experience. There is a common linked piece of piano music that gives the 2 hours a kind of flow. 'They are trying to sound like early Genesis,' I mentioned to several friends but none of us could actually pinpoint an actual steal. I can definitely hear the end theme from 'Stagnation' at one point in CD1 but it's the arrangements that points towards the early 1970s.

If you love 'Selling England' or 'The lamb...' then this is that idea transformed into the year 2013. I can't stop playing the CDs. Must have listened to them five times now. The last song, 'Curator of Butterflies' is the most moving experience of my 2013 life.

Favourite songs are 'A boy in darkness', 'Worked Out' and 'East Coast Racer' but 'Curator of Butterflies' is as elegant as a swan.

I may have to get the train down to Winchester and hang around the High Street for a few days. There definitely is no inspiration where I am at the moment in Grimsby!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 September 2013
I gave the two volumes of English Electric issued in 2012 and 2013 five stars, so it will hardly surprise anyone that I give the "complete" English Electric five stars as well. For new listeners trying to sort out what is what, though, Full Power has everything from the first two volumes plus an additional four songs. The running order has been rearranged to take advantage of the new material and, so the band hopes, give a more coherent listening experience.

Coming to the new material first, "Make Some Noise" (now the curtain-raiser for the entire double album) is a boisterous, energetic track unlike anything else on the album. "Seen Better Days" is very much more in line with the characteristic BBT style and segues via a short piano instrumental ("Edgelands") into the previously-issued track "Summoned By Bells". Overall, that three-track sequence works well and provides an effective centrepiece to the first disc. The final new track, "The Lovers", begins as a ballad but abruptly changes up into an upbeat instrumental section with a distinctly "East Coast Racer" vibe. If all you are interested in is the new tracks, they are all included on the separate Make Some Noise e.p.

The packaging for Full Power is a notable step up from the very satisfactory packaging that was issued with volumes 1 & 2. It's now a sturdy digibook (similar to the packaging used for the Porcupine Tree reissues) and, bound into its spine, there is a very full booklet including lyrics, song notes and generous biographical notes on, seemingly, everyone involved. The booklet is illustrated throughout in colour. The result is almost a "legacy edition" presentation of one of the best albums of the last few years.

Anyone coming to Full Power in its current form has an immense amount of music to navigate: the sheer ambition and 'mass' of the album is intimidating. It is nevertheless a wonderful example of prog at its least bombastic and most craftsmanlike.
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on 28 January 2014
Forget comparisons with the prog of old. These are usually not helpful anyway. This is not a copy of anyone, but using the ground that the prog giants of old have broken, BBT bring a fresh and original sound that is inventive, beautiful, complex and life affirming. The story telling is amazing and the use brass, vocal harmonies and strings fused with sublime electric guitar satisfyingly progressive keys is an experience that needs to be heard. This is an album to sit down and listen to, in its entirety if time allows. The bright "Make some noise" is a fun start to the album but "The First Rebreather" better sets the mood for 2 CDs of passion, power and reflection. When BBT start playing live again they will go down in history as a band that upped the bar for all other progressive rock bands, and I will be there cheering in the front row!
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on 13 October 2013
Well I must fess up that I was rather late to the party and had cherry picked tracks for the last two albums off iTunes rather than buy them outright. This compendium of both albums plus four new tracks was the excuse I needed and I'm so glad they did this because this is the way these two albums should be heard as one piece.

I don't want to be melodramatic but at 47 years old and being a lover of the Beatles, prog rock and new wave I have finally found the ultimate album to sum up the music I love. It has everything you could want and more and I have to say as a musician I could hang up my bass and never play another note had I written this as it really is something I would not be able to contemplate following.

The packaging is beautiful and so much info on the thought behind the songs it is worth the purchase even if you have the albums already. The segueing is wonderful too, producing a seamless listen from start to finish if you can do it in one sitting which is quite a challenge but so was TLLDOB so been there before.

Fav tracks is difficult but my top 6 are East Coast Racer, Uncle Jack, Hedgerow, Swan Hunter, Keeper of Abbeys and First Rebreather. the only track I skip is Leopards as its just too MOR for me but that's the only blemish apart from not having East Coast Racer as the last track as to me that coda at the end is the highlight of the album and leaves me in tears its just so perfect and spine-tingling which like a day in the life just should not be followed even though Butterflies is a good finish.

have no idea how these guys will follow this although Make some noise is a great track and shows they haven't run out of ideas.

The question is when are these talented lads a) going to tour b) become the biggest name in rock let alone prog?

To my mind BBT have created the best album in the last 25 years and I will never tire of listening to this. Boys you have achieved way beyond what I could ever have hoped for , amazing work, if you never make another tune you can retire happily that this is as close to perfection as you can get.
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on 29 March 2014
Some nice in depth reviews here so I'll keep mine brief. Excellent music that reminds me a touch of Genesis around A Trick Of the Tail period - yep it's that good. Already had the 2 English Electric albums but had to have this - beautifully packaged. A few highlights:

1) The new track - Make some noise - great vibrant way to start the album
2) The epic - The first rebreather
3) Hedgerow - which, halfway through, suddenly plays one of the greatest bits of string music I've ever heard - if anyone knows of something similar do tell
4) Judas Unrepentant - such a catchy tune - reminds the most of Genesis but done in their unique style.
5) Keeper of abbeys - can't get that tune out of my head!
6) The permanent way - lovely yet somber.

I'm in danger of listing the whole album. Suffice to say it is a magnificent effort from one of today's leading bands.
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on 30 September 2013
Big Big Train continue to impress and this majestic release displays a maturity and inventiveness reminiscent of early post-Gabriel Genesis. But there are also echoes of Stackridge, Jethro Tull, Greenslade and even early Spock's Beard here. This is quintessential English progressive rock that I had thought long gone, so it was a real pleasure to set aside just over two hours and listen to this throughout. This double disc set is a combination of two earlier albums with 4 new songs thrown in. But you wouldn't know it because it all hangs together so beautifully. The musicianship is very fine indeed and the arrangements are just perfect. Expansive, melodic, well-crafted songs, there were no jarring moments or areas of boredom - this is just a fantastic listen. Highly recommended - one of the best prog albums I've heard this year.
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on 20 November 2013
Big Big Train slapped together "English Electric Part 1" (september 2012) and "English Electric Part 2" (march 2013) with four more songs and sold the package as "English Electric: Full Steam" (september 2013). In fact, they did that and added a comprehensive booklet with lyrics, pictures and interesting information on each piece of music of the album(s) and on the musicians who helped Big Big Trains to accomplish the feat of delivering nineteen songs delightfully composed and crafted with expertise -- a sensible move which goes beyond bare marketing.

At moments (many moments actually) the music resembles amazingly closely the «classic» Genesis quintet's style (Gabriel-Banks-Collins-Hackett-Rutherford), but the best episodes sport the peculiar Big Big Train style, like in "East Coast Racer", a personal favourite of mine, written by Greg Spawton, whose songs I generally prefer on those composed by David Longdon, by the way.

One thing I don't like is the choice of "Make Some Noise" as the incipit of the album: it's like offering first a beer can and then, a glass of fine wine (the second track is the vastly superior "The First Rebreather") -- or better a long row of these.
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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2014
I already owned (and reviewed) the 2 single albums and so felt a bit miffed when this "compilation" was released with a few bouns tracks which smacked a bit of exploitation. Moreover they changed the order and mixed up tracks from 1 and 2 and interspersed the bonus material. Then chose to kick off the new album with the weakest, though catchy, song Make Some Noise.
Nevertheless what you have here is nothing short of a masterpiece of composition (musical and lyrical), performance and production. Yes you hear the odd Prog influences, notably Genesis, but BBT surpass even the Gabriel line-up in all but humour. In some ways i find the English Electric music to be more conventional in format than the somewhat proggier (and brilliant) Underfall Yard but it is accessible, melodic and multi-layered and features some pieces touched by genius like Judas Unrepentant and Keeper of Abbeys, First Rebreather, Leopards, The Permanent Way. I'm surprised to hear some criticisms of the vocals which i find to be absolutely superb throughout, although admittedly they don't hit they same histrionic levels of Spock's Beard, i don't think that is necessarily a weakness. Perhaps an English reserve but plenty of electric power. Buy the album - fantastic value, you won't be disappointed.
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on 17 October 2013
I got the first English electric a while ago and was instantly impressed with the songs and musicianship. Anyone that has grown up with old school prog of the genesis, Canterbury type must have this. This is the band that is carrying the torch for this beautiful music. lovely melodies great tunes and the whole thing sounds immaculate.
The new package is outstanding too. A bargain at 13 quid.
There is some very good prog around these days but I have yet to hear a band that really understands this genre as well as this lot
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on 9 November 2013
Here we have both English Electric I and II together with four brand new songs on the top. And as both part of English Electric are worth of it alone, this coudn't be mistake to buy (if only for those new song). The problem could be if someone has bought English Electric before (I've got first part), but the price of this double album is reasonable and I have fine gift for somebody with that first part.

So, it's great double album from great band and I recommend it!
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