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Big Big Train - The Underfall Yard CD (album) cover

THE UNDERFALL YARD

Big Big Train

 

Crossover Prog

4.18 | 681 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

poito
5 stars The first thing that called my attention in this album is that the few bits of choral singing are so good, but they were in contrast with the flat voice of the soloist, David Longdon. I am very sensitive to voices, they rarely add little to a good composition while they often derail a good project. And this one isa bit too dominant, and it has not a particularly attractive pitch. Okay, he is not that bad, I'm sure that many even love it. Now, let's go to the important thing, first I have to say this is the first BBT album I listen to, thus I can't put it in context of the band's history, which I understand has been quite agitated as it concerns to line-ups. Anyway, here it goes how I feel it. Even for an old Prog geek as I am, the music sounds fresh, original, complex, strong, intelligent, and ... I was about to say full of layers, but this is not the term, it is more like a salad, a strange salad not of the like for a vegetarian... maybe a melt pot? maybe I'm rambling around, I can't fix it. Sorry, it must be the hypocrisy of Christmas time that makes me thick minded. Last time I had problems to describe an album was with ANIMA MUNDI, a band from Cuba who also crafts excellent hyper-complex Prog (now that we are here, check THE LAMPLIGHTER). This one is more digestible and naturally it has influences, but it sounds anew, daring, it mixes elements and instruments in a captivating manner. For instance, wind instruments are perfectly assembled to electric ones in a long theme Victorian Brickwork. One of the assets of the album is the guitar work. There are only a few moments here and there when it is left to stand out, what I think it was a mistake, because the guitar man Spawton, a band founder, builds music, he is not a riff-maker. The other important thing about the composition is the continuous variation, the themes are not variations around a musical motif, but on the contrary, it is always exploring. If you jump 20 seconds ahead inside a track you will think as if jumped to the next. There is a lot of music to give away in these people. There are no weak themes. The album title track is a 20 min long epic full of good stuff and brilliant moments, although the piles of different ideas that it contains will make it hard to remember. In this sense, my favorite is probably the opening Evening Star, that kicks off with a simple but impressive choral motif, though it is an instrumental. Another positive thing is that spite of the complexity of compositions it does not tire me off. Actually, I may play it turn after turn and always discover new corners. It may not be a masterpiece, but it is very close to, and it belongs to the 4-5 stars shelf.
poito | 5/5 |

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