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Big Big Train - 'Folklore' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/00/84/24/big-big-train-folklore-4-1476038364.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 09, 2016    
 
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Big Big Train have delivered another gem.

Since the introduction of new vocalist Dave Longdon on their 2009 album 'The Underfall Yard', the band's profile has risen inexorably, to the point where they should be considered a "must have" for any self-respecting Classic Prog fan. That said, 'Folklore' doesn't offer up its delights immediately, as was the case with their preceding albums 'English Electric Parts 1 & 2'. This one is a grower that necessitates your attention over a few plays to really draw out all the wonderful melodies, and both the depth and skill of the incredible arrangements. As ever, the songs are rooted in British culture with superbly told and evocative stories; the band's raison d'etre and a massive part of their appeal and charm.

A slight change this time around is the influence of Rikard Sjoblöm on song structures, as he injects a few Beardfish sensibilities into proceedings; notably Hammond Organ passages and the occasional gritty burst that takes the band into different, new territory. Some of the guitar solos certainly have his stamp on them too. Flute also seems to play a bigger part than hitherto. Song subject matter includes a tree observing the history of London, a journey along an ancient highway, a giant, the astronomer Patrick Moore, a heroine homing pigeon, motor-racing and bees – all of which are utterly compelling and beautifully told.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Folklore' commences with a fanfare, before bursting into a rousing romp with infectious themes and chorus; a gig opener if ever I heard one. 'London Plane' is a lilting tear-jerker with Longdon producing an emotive delivery; midway through, a Beardfish style instrumental section takes the song off on a tangent. 'Along The Ridgeway' sweeps, soars and captivates with violin and brass all playing their part; it segues into the largely instrumental 'Salisbury Giant', which hints at Steve Hackett and early Genesis. 'Wassail' is another foot-tapper with a monumental chorus, while 'Winkie' is a multi-part suite telling the true "Boy's Own" story of a pigeon that saved a bomber crew in WWII; bizarre maybe, but brilliantly realised. 'Brooklands' is the album's longest track where speed and pathos are conveyed by both the music and lyrics. The vocal arrangements across the album are stunning. 'Telling The Bees' is a beautiful poignant song to end proceedings.

I'd need far more space to do this album justice; suffice to say, Big Big Train have delivered another gem.

Gary Marshall

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