English Electric Recordings www.bigbigtrain.com [Release date 02.12.16]
Following on from their latest excellent studio album, ‘Folklore’, released earlier this year, Big Big Train deliver a live seasonal treat for their fans. This double CD was recorded from across the three sell out shows they performed in 2015 at Kings Place, London. The eight piece band are joined at the shows by a four piece brass section that allows the band to successfully recreate the wonderful sounds on their studio albums.
Highlights? The whole album to be fair and listening to this makes you really want to see one of their live shows. ‘Wassail’ from the latest album but getting a sneak preview at the live shows, sounds very strong live and taps into the band’s love of adding traditional music into their progressive rock base.
David Longdon has a very rich and melodic vocal, as often some progressive bands can be found wanting in the vocal department. Marvel at his singing on ‘Hedgerow’ (a song that can cheer up even the gloomiest winter’s day) and on ‘Judas Unrepentant’. On the latter, drummer Nick D’Virgilio gets to show his exquisite playing. Mind you, you could pick out all of the band as they are all at the top of their musical game, be it Dave Gregory’s wistful guitar playing or the keys of Danny Manners and Andy Poole.
Big Big Train have been building up a steady head of steam over the past few years, building up an impressive catalogue of songs and performing live to really bring the music and the songs’ stories alive. This is a must have for fans and if you have not heard anything by the band to date, start here and work your way back through their impressive musical back catalogue. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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