Big Big Train
English Electric


3.0
good

Review

by menawati USER (94 Reviews)
September 7th, 2012 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The spectre of early Genesis looms large on this well crafted release but the music is lacking the imagination and audaciousness that exemplified those kings of theatrical symphonic prog.

Big Big Train are a crossover prog band from England that have been around since 1990 in some form or another. They have released several albums over the years with members of Spock's Beard, XTC and Marillion making guest contributions. English Electric is their seventh full release.

This was an album I really wanted to like. I've listened to it several times since it was released at the start of September in an attempt to embrace the music but sadly the only feeling I am left with is apathy; it's so inoffensive and unchallenging. There's not even a really bad song to break things up and serve as a demarcation point in the flow of track after track of mediocrity.
Big Big Train has been likened to early Genesis. I suppose there is a similarity but I feel the comparison is misleading. If you had a computer program that would produce music based upon your input parameters and you entered some typical Genesis characteristics like 'pastoral acoustic guitar passages', 'vocals a bit like Gabriel with a bit of flute here and there' and 'songs about fields, hedges and quaint English things' you could well end up with something quite close to this album. However, in their heyday Genesis also exhibited other characteristics. They were quirky, innovative, theatrical and compelling; Big Big Train on English Electric are none of those things. Obviously it would be a far stretch to expect any band to approach the level of Genesis at their peak but this music is unremarkable in the extreme. It's expertly composed for what it is, it's well performed and the production sounds great. It's not bad at all. But it's not very good either. It's middling, average, forgettable and ...(DIY review spot: look up 'mediocre' in a thesaurus and insert all the synonyms here)...

I'd really rather listen to something that I hate than listen to this. At least it would be invoking a response in me. I can appreciate the music on an intellectual level but it moves me not one iota. Music is supposed to move you in some way isn't it ? Make you laugh, cry, dance, tap your foot, bang your head, scare you, inspire you, disgust you, captivate you, relax you or even make you want to throw the record across the room in a fit of angry disappointment (well, hit the delete button on your keyboard with a flourish anyway). This album doesn't make me want to do any of those things, it just makes me want to..hmm..well...it doesn't make me want to do anything really. This is the musical equivalent of spending quite a pleasant morning with some quite agreeable folks drinking some quite nice tea and politely talking about quite nice things like the weather and the state of the garden lawn.



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user ratings (47)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
menawati
September 7th 2012


16582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It may look daft posting such a negative user review for something just released and relatively obscure...I mean why bother at all ? Well, this thing seems to be getting rave reviews whereever I look, i mean AOTY type plaudits, so I thought it was worth putting on the radar here bcos there's a good chance prog fans will disagree with my review. If you like late period Marillion (which I don't) you may love this.



You can stream full album at http://bigbigtrain.bandcamp.com/

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2012


7571 Comments


Well written, pos.


Big Big Train has been likened to early Genesis

has been linked




Listened to the first few tracks and I agree with you, they are enjoyable but forgettable.

Digging: Urarv - Aurum

menawati
September 7th 2012


16582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ty, glad at least someone agrees. Saw so many reviews saying this was some sort of masterpiece that I thought I was missing something.

AnimalsAsSummit
September 11th 2012


2856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Can't relate to the review. Beautiful album.

Digging: Jean-Pascal Buffo - Rituel

menawati
September 12th 2012


16582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fair enough mate, their music has never clicked with me but they seem to be very highly regarded and had no presence on sputnik so I posted that review and the 1st comment. Would be good if someone wrote a positive review to offset mine because they seem to have a lot of fans.

AnimalsAsSummit
September 13th 2012


2856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed. They're so relatively unknown it seems that their releases don't get much attention on here.

Whispered4tw
September 15th 2012


853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just started listening to this, so far so good.



Menawati, not sure if you're into symphonic prog but give Moon Safari at try if you haven't.

Whispered4tw
September 15th 2012


853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah no, this is some great stuff

Jethro42
September 25th 2012


15005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm digging these guys these days

AnimalsAsSummit
November 2nd 2012


2856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If there was any justice, this would definitely be topping the charts for this year

menawati
November 2nd 2012


16582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

grew on me a lot since that rather hasty review

Neurosion
November 16th 2012


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Hasty review" indeed, menawati. I doubt many potential listeners will get much past "big big yawn" to

read your retraction.



I'll try to write a full review of my own this weekend. About time I stopped lurking.

AnimalsAsSummit
December 10th 2012


2856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^Thank goodness. Otherwise this gem go relatively unnoticed.

menawati
December 10th 2012


16582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i fear it would go unnoticed on here even if I had given it 5 stars, but it would be cool if someone did a more positive review

menawati
December 10th 2012


16582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

have made the summary less damning and upped half a point, can't change much more as it would conflict too much with the review as i felt at the time

Jethro42
December 10th 2012


15005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet!

'Winchester from St Giles Hills' and 'Judas Unrepentant' are the tits.

menawati
December 10th 2012


16582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

grats on 10k very soon jethro

Jethro42
December 10th 2012


15005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There I am.

Boum.

menawati
December 10th 2012


16582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

p/

Jethro42
December 10th 2012


15005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

P/





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