Oh my, where to start? Well, I have to admit, I never heard of the band Big Big Train before, until I listened to Stacy Doller’s Prog Britannia show (which used to be on Progrock.com, and now on Progzilla Radio). I really liked the songs that I heard, so I started to do some research. I thought it was a pretty new band, but I found out that the band exists for quite a while! I also just started to work for Background Magazine back in the early summer of 2015. I got my first batch of albums, and it included the Wassail EP of Big Big Train. I was very impressed by that EP, especially because of the title track Wassail (you can read the review of that EP here).
A couple of months ago, I posted the interview I had with Jem Godrey of Frost* (you can read the interview here) in the Big Big Train Facebook group. David Longdon gave that post a like, which I really appreciated. I thanked him for that, and asked if he was interested in an interview too. David told me he really enjoyed the interview with Jem, and that he would love to be interviewed as well. The interview with sir Longdon is one of the longest interviews I’ve ever done, and we discussed so much interesting subjects. If you haven’t heard it you should really check it out (you can listen to it by clicking here or to scroll down on this page).
Now, time to review the album. Big Big Train delivered a complete masterpiece with Folklore. Nine mostly long tracks, making the album over one hour long. The artwork of the sleeve is wonderful. It also contains a booklet with the lyrics, great pictures of the band performing live and in the studio, and a lovely painting in the middle of the booklet. The music is a mixture of progressive and folk music. Wonderful arrangements perfectly executed by eight members and several guest musicians. You would almost think that the album was done by a complete symphonic orchestra! David Longdon is a fascinating singer with a robust voice. What makes this album also very enjoyable is that every track has its own story and is a freestanding gem. Yes, I do have favourite tracks on that album… Which are all of them, but if I really had to choose it would be Winkie at the moment. There’s a lot of things happening in the song, and is also very ‘progressive’.
The album will be definitely in my top 10 of albums from 2016, just like the Wassail EP back in 2015 (you can read my top 10 of 2015 here). This is not something you can give one spin, you need to spin it a lot of times to get the complete picture. An album that I would recommend to anyone who likes music, no matter what genre… Ok, maybe someone who only likes hardcore punk or rap/hip-hop doesn’t know what to think of it, but you probably know what I mean. Big Big Train deserves a bigger audience, and I really hope I can see this band perform live someday. I heard from so many friends and colleagues that they are amazing to watch live!
A big hug from your roving reporter!
Iris, aka Ier!
PS: A big thank you to David Longdon for sending me the album!
My interview with David:
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