Big Big Train - Bard - 2002
"Bard, the brand new and definitive studio album from Big Big Train."
Together with the album I received an A4 sheet with this strange announcement. On their website the band published a letter to explain all this. The band exists ten years, ten difficult years to survive and make some albums, which never sold in big amounts. For me it was a big surprise to get an email from Greg Spawton. I knew Big Big Train from years ago and I have even the first album (re-release of first demo) out of 1990 "From the river to the sea" in my CD cabinet. After a second demo "The infant Hercules" in 1993 the band recorded in 1994 their first official album "Goodbye to the age of steam" which was released on Giant Electric Pea. The second album followed in 1995 and was called "English boy wonders". Since 1999 the band worked on this new and maybe last album entitled "Bard".
The Musicians of this album:
Phil Hogg - Drums and percussion; Greg Spawton - Guitar, keyboards and vocals, Martin Reed - Vocals; Tony Müller - piano and vocals; Ian Cooper - keyboards; Jo Micheals - Vocals, and Andy Poole - Bass.
The music of Big Big Train I would like to subscribe as mellow prog. The mix and mastering of Rob Aubrey is very delicate. The music has good vocals from different vocalists and sounds most of the time relaxed but there are also some nice keyboard and guitar solos. I like the beautiful acoustic guitar combined with piano and through the whole album there are great mellotron sounds. It is just a pleasant album to listen to. I won't describe every track as I am usually do. But here are some notes I wrote down when I was listening to the album. "Broken English" (14:09) first mellotron sounds and has a nice electric guitar solo in the end. "Harold rex interfectus est" (1:02) beautiful acoustic guitar piece. "Blacksmithing" (3:03) has those "Genesis acoustic guitars" with beautiful mellotron. "Love is her thing" (3:50) nice melodic love song. "For winter" (16:47) mellotron opening, nice and longest track of album, melodic guitar pieces and peaceful ending. "A long finish" (8:20) opens with acoustic guitar, "Genesis acoustic guitars", great melodic electric guitar piece and mellotron sounds, my favourite track with great melodic guitar and synth solo in the end.
I don't hope this is their last album. But if it is indeed the case than this "Bard" is a worthy last effort. It is just a good album with melodic, mellow prog. And I fell in love with the combination of tasteful mellotron sounds with acoustic guitar. This is not a spectacular album but it is relaxed, sounds great and has beautiful melodic moments and nice vocals. I can only compare this album with the first demo. But this one is ten times better. It is up to you.