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NEW ALBUM: Big Big Train - Grand Tour
#1
BIG BIG TRAIN ~ Grand Tour

[Image: 220px-Big_Big_Train_Grand_Tour.jpg]

The idea behind this album comes from the practice, in the days of imperialism, of well-heeled families sending their progeny off on a grand tour of far flung countries of cultural and historical interest which was intended a) to round off their education and give them additional conversational skills and social desirability due to their refined knowledge - to broaden their horizons, and b) I strongly suspect, to manipulate them into pairing up with wealthy royals/aristocracy - a glorified gap year (or three). There was a form of trade taking place too – the collection and acquisition of important pieces of art and artifacts – vast sums of money changed hands. Not a lot has changed – the empires are just different.  

The subject matter is well chosen and researched – they aren’t making things up – this is real, and I understand that there’s a booklet that goes with the album that you can read while listening, which is probably most helpful. My ears pricked up for the third track, “The Florentine” – a tribute to the beautiful curious mind and legacy of Leonardo da Vinci. “Roman Stone” deals with the glories of the Roman empire – their feats of engineering and building and the ultimate collapse and fall. There’s a lot of Italy here – ok, ok, I know it was the birthplace of the Renaissance which is hugely relevant in this instance.

They sing of the Empress Theodora who was one of the most influential women in Byzantine history, of Ariel, the spirit character from Shakespeare’s The Tempest – several of these are lengthy affairs with four or five movements – “Voyager” speaks of voyages, past and present, sea and space travel and “Homesong” seems to celebrate a return to home soil - things pastoral and rather British, I say what.  

It’s a lot to take in. I’ll need a break before listening again. Sometimes so much cleverness can be a bit tiring, and it is all very clever, and very nicely executed – the music really can’t be faulted and IMHO they are one of the best so-called ‘progressive’ bands out there right now (although I’m beginning to dislike that label, intensely). They sound quite a lot like Genesis in places and David Longdon’s voice continues to remind me of Peter Gabriel, I’m just missing the wow factor, somehow, and I don’t know why – or maybe there are too many of them. I think I need a few less busy moments and there is only one measly six minute instrumental, lol!

I can find no good reason at all not to be blown away (as I see most who have heard it are) and totally admiring of this album, so I can’t figure out why I’m not … yet … can’t feel it. It’s a bit like Vladimir Tretchikoff – a fabulous, technically competent artist and draftsman of note, who despite his ability and subsequent fame and fortune (brought about mostly by his marketing skills), utterly failed to infuse his work with any element of passion. I will have to listen again!

Can't find any other tracks on YT so this is it ... a short one.  Big Grin



"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
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#2
only album of theirs ive heard is "folklore" from three or four years ago...
it was very folky, reminded me of Jethro Tull in parts...

the linked track is also very folky, as in traditional English folk, again, Tull springs to mind
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