I seem to recall that Big Big Train was to have disbanded after Bard but much to my surprise they returned with a fourth album entitled Gathering Speed. Seems that the English progressive rock band Big Big Train regroups with a new singer and a renewed vigor. I thought Bard was rather a slow prodding disc and I soon gave it to a friend that was a fan. I was figuiring I'd be giving this one away as well but upon listening to Gathering Speed that soon changed. I believe this may be in many ways Gathering Speed ushered in a new chapter of Big Big Train.
And yes they do trod down paths previously covered by other neo-prog bands and bring nothing new to the musical table but who cares! They are well written songs with memorable & catchy melodies and in my opinion, they are a good band to introduce your non progger friends to, especially the ones that donít like heavy styled music.
Gathering Speed is a concept album; the story is set in the summer of 1940 and it is about a fighter pilot whose Spitfire is shot down during a combat patrol. The lyrical concept deals with the personal experiences of that fighter.
I must admit Iím a sucker for conceptual releases especially ones that are focused and donít drift. Gathering Speed is a solid, understandable story from beginning to end.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on June 16th, 2004