My previous exposure to Sean Filkins is his time with Big Big Train, so it was a great pleasure to review Sean‘s debut solo album. “War and Peace & Other Short Stories“ was released during the first half of 2011. I feel that Sean‘s solo material is the next step up in the evolution of a musical output from his days with BBT.
Sean is a multi-instrumentalist as well as a vocalist. Joining him to help flesh out the music is John Sammes (keyboards) Lee Abraham (Bass, rhythm & lead guitar, keyboards), Gary Chandler (Lead guitar), Dave Meros (Bass), John Mitchell (he’s everywhere), Darren Newit (Lead guitar), Gerald Mulligan (drums) and many others to numerous to post.
War And Peace & Other Short Stories is comprised of mostly epics with “Are You Sitting Comfortably? (1:06) being the shortest track on the album and segues right into “The English Eccentric” (8:46). While not quite prog-metal, it is the heaviest track on the album.
Next is a two song suite of “Prisoner of Conscience Pt 1: The Soldier” (19:21) and “Prisoner of Conscience Pt 2: The Ordinary Man” (11:02), which clocks in at slightly about the 30 minute mark. The first part is one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Another of my favorite tracks off the album is “Epitaph For A Mariner” (20:53). It has a bit of Sean Filkins family history. The subject matter is about Sean’s great grandfather, William Pull. I recommend reading the lyrics while listening to this track.
Finally we have the last track, “Learn How To Learn” (7:28) which concludes the album perfectly. There’s a leaning toward the classic prog sound via modern prog.
There are so many influences that can be heard on War And Peace & Other Short Stories which remaining something of more original piece of work. In my opinion, Sean is one of the better vocalist/multi-instrumentalists in today’s progressive rock music. It impressed me so much that I included it as one of my favorite top 30 albums of 2011. I will highly recommend this album, it belongs in every melodic prog fan’s collection.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on December 18th, 2011