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Big Big Train - English Electric (Part Two) CD (album) cover


Big Big Train


Crossover Prog

4.08 | 766 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars The followup to Big Big Train's "English Electric (Part One)" is an accomplished effort with the musicianship being as high quality as the previous album. "English Electric (Part Two)" is not the 5 star masterpiece of the previous album however it has to be said. It tends to rely heavily on a very reserved commercial melodic crossover sound; mainstream rather than progressive which surprised me as I was looking forward to more innovative songs that twist and turn with incredible instrumentals. Instead, this is a very pedestrian album with no genuine highlights to speak of and I was left feeling very disappointed.

Having set the bar so high with Part One, Big Big Train promised much with their subsequent release and it is difficult not to venture into this album with high expectations. I did not expect it to be so radio friendly and melancholy. There are moments that shine of course such as the opener 'East Coast Racer', certainly one of the best songs here, 'Swan Hunter' has a nice rollicking rhythm, and 'Worked Out' is perhaps the one to listen to over and over as it is outstanding. I particularly loved also when the Bluegrass violin jig cranked up; such a fun thing to include in the middle of a song. However the album is nowhere near as consistent as the last album. Many of the songs sound the same and verge into AOR territory. Perhaps I could listen without comparing it to their masterpiece, but even then it really does not offer anything that would resemble the innovative prog of Part One or even have a memorable track that jams into the brain. There are some really dreamy orchestrated sections but it more or less serves to send you to sleep rather than amaze you; perhaps it's a good bedtime album, and that deserves some recognition at least. I wish it offered something experimental or heavy to balance out all the gentle sections; but in essence this is a very gentle reserved album, and there is nothing really adventurous, even though Big Big Train are more than capable of creating mesmerising music. Following 'Worked Out' just about every song is melancholy especially the abysmal 'Leopards' and soft rock of 'Keeper of Abbeys', with its string section and lulling melody. There are nice harmonies on this and it has a quick cadence but it is not prog.

Again, I state I adored Part One and could not fault it, but this Part Two album would be better off as a bonus CD to the original Part One as it feels like filler at times and as though these songs were the ones left off the first part. Nice dreamy music and nice dreamy singing but little else, as harsh as that may sound. It is receiving rave reviews and of course it is a matter of taste, but if you are after something as incredible as Part One you may be bitterly disappointed as I was. I listened and kept hoping the next song would just blow me away but it just didn't happen. A few things towards the end made me sit up and take notice but really this is the sort of music I could put on and fall asleep to. That music of course has its place but I just didn't expect Big Big Train to deliver something so average after their brilliant release previous. Sincerely, I hope they follow up this with something that reaches the heights of Part One, which is an undisputed masterpiece. 3 stars for this release as it is still great musicianship and Big Big Train have a wonderful sound.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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