CD Reviews

Big Big Train - 'A Stone's Throw From The Line'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 03, 2017    
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No wonder the Prog fraternity voted these shows "Event Of The Year 2015".

There's not a doubt in my mind that all that those fortunate enough to have attended one of the handful of sold-out shows the band played at King's Place, London, in August 2015 will have been hankering for this live album ever since, as I am sure will be the case for those unable to get tickets or for whom London was too far to travel. If you're a member of either camp, you'll not be disappointed because, in my opinion, this release is destined to join the list of iconic live albums, along with the likes of Genesis' 'Seconds Out', Thin Lizzy's 'Live & Dangerous' etc.

It's an utterly splendid collection of songs, capturing the band in all their glory as they play sublime songs with skill, grace, feeling and beauty. Yes, I used the word beauty and believe it to be justified because there are many sublime moments where the music really moves and transports the listener to another plane, be that uplifting or at the melancholy end of the spectrum. Here's a band that deliver stories put to music; none of your "baby I love you" stuff, but social history, nature and ripping yarns, all of which paint wonderful pictures in your mind. They Rock, they soothe, but whichever phase they are in they delight with compelling songs that simply ooze class. You can feel the passion for what they do and the music they produce.

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There's not a weak moment across the thirteen tracks, from the rousing opener 'Make Some Noise' through to the calm, delicate and multiple vocals of 'Hedgerow' that rounds out the show. Their ability to create epic numbers is up there with the best, and the use of both violin and various brass instruments is unsurpassed. I'm not a big fan of brass, but when Big Big Train deploy its use, it's spine-tingling. The playing is top-notch, the vocal arrangements terrific and the set beautifully paced with the epic numbers being interwoven with shorter songs, but in the main it's the more expansive material that resonates. Space precludes me from listing all of the many highlights, but 'The First Rebreather', 'Victorian Brickwork', 'Summoned By Bells', Judas Unrepentant' and the extremely poignant 'Curator Of Butterflies' are utterly compelling.

No wonder the Prog fraternity voted these shows "Event Of The Year 2015".

Gary Marshall

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