BIG BIG TRAIN – English Electric Part One





Big Big Train return with Andy Poole and Greg Spawton joined by former Spock’s Beard drummer Nick D’Virgilio, Dave Gregory of XTC fame (he guested on their last album ‘The Underfall Yard’) and vocalist David Longdon, who had previously been singing with a Genesis tribute band. Guests include the Tangent’s Andy Tillison, Rachel Hall (Stackridge) and a brass section and string quartet.

The album has a loose concept of a journey through the English landscape and those that helped build it – a history lesson set to prog if you like. I can honestly say this is a real tour de force by the band, from the musical arrangements through to the lyrics and even the inlay sleeve featuring fascinating rust portraits by Matt Sefton.

‘The First Firebreather’ is a classic piece of English prog and could easily have come off the last album. There are two real classics on here, first up ‘Judas Unrepentant’ which features glorious vocal harmonies for a tale about an art forger. Then there is the quintessential tale of English wildlife on ‘Hedgerow’. A real XTC feel on this one, circa their two ‘Apple Venus’ albums. The harmony vocals again feature heavily along with some lovely violin and subtle brass arrangements.

Part two follows next March…just a nice enough gap to fully appreciate the delights on volume one.


Jason Ritchie

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Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)

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