Big Big Train have come up with the best progressive rock release these ears have heard in the last 7 or more years. If you love the classic Genesis of the 70's, then you’ll faint over this. “English Electric Part One” is great from start to finish. I keep thinking this band can’t do better than the last recording but I continue to be incorrect. Happily so.
This is unreal at times. With songs like ‘Winchester From St Giles Hill’ (track 3) that would have to melt any Gabriel era Genesis fan’s heart, to ‘A Boy in Darkness’ (track 7) that blows the doors off with part jazz rock and progressive rock onslaught, which made me almost exhale my tongue. WOW! How do they keep writing these giant sized gems? After that mighty sword, they bring this masterpiece to an end with another gorgeous tune (‘Hedgerow’) with lush vocals and melody, that once again, equals the early king of the hill Genesis. Yes, the whole thing is that great! You’ll be sucked in from the opening cut.
BBT have no fear of multiple changes in one title. Whereas I have heard endless progressive bands (all styles) string together many parts in one extended song, that just don’t work well, BBT have the know how and, the smart coats of many colors to write as well as the best bands in the world, in every composition. It all plays out so natural at that. It’s increasingly hard to say this about a band in the last few years, but “English Electric Part One” does not have a weak song in the bunch. It’s 100% loveable. It’s majestic and stunning.
Another aspect about the recording is how many times I thought the song was ending but changed pace, atmosphere, and/or direction. I’m always clapping for joy over an album such as this. The composers Greg Spawton, David Longdon, and Andy Poole ( also the producer) fully understand the importance and the proper way to use dynamics, timing, and the staff lines. Execution is immaculate and brilliant! Hat’s off to the superlative arranging too.
I don’t want to choke you on adjectives but if any progressive rock band in 2012 deserves it today, it is this band and their new release. In fact this is so good that each time I have listened to it, I could not listen to anything else afterwards simply because I refused to pollute the pristine and refreshing feeling I got from it. Anyways, nothing would compare unless I went back to some select 70's best of the best. I can’t recommend this one enough. For these ears, and in the progressive rock category, it’s 2012's recording of the year. ULTIMATE HIGH THRONE RECOMMENDATION!!!
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on October 28th, 2012